Jeju Island is an oval-shaped volcanic island with a span of 73 km to the east and west and with a span of 41 km to the north and south. Mt.Halla, a shield volcano with a height of 1,950 m, soars up in the air at the center of the island. Jeju Island was formed by volcanic activity that started approximately 1.88 million years ago. As for the structure of its strata, a number of lava flows and sedimentary layers, with a thickness of 2 to 3m on average, lie one upon another.
Jeju Island has an average temperature of 16.6 degree celsius.
Also, the average annual rainfall is 2,061 mm, larger than the national annual of 1,131 mm.
Notably, Jeju Island has 130 days of rain in total per year, more than 17 days added to the national average of 111 days.
Jeju Island is called Samdado, meaning an island abundant in three things; wind, rocks, and women. Samda reflects the life and history of the people in the island who overcame hardship, through wisdom and perseverance, in a barren natural environment. Abundance in wind describes difficult living conditions where the people had to resist strong wind blowing continuously toward the volcanic island of rocks sitting in the way of storms. Abundance in women does not mean that there are a large number of women in the island. Rather, it suggests that people working hard in the hills, fields, and sea were mostly women.
Environmental Value of Jeju lsland
Jeju Island, the world’s natural heritage, was designated as a biosphere reserve in 2002; listed as a UNESCO world natural heritage in 2007; and officially recognized as a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2010. These achievements made Jeju Island a triple crown winner. In 2016, the culture of Jeju Haenyeo(Women Divers) culture was listed as a UNESCO intangible heritage. Also, Jeju Island was selected as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2011 by a popular vote of all citizens around the world. This has taken the value of Jeju Island to the next level.
Water Culture of Jeju
Jeju Island has a lot of rain. However, it is very difficult to get water as its soil absorbs water quickly. Moreover, it is difficult to set a water jar on the head and walk due to wind and stone in Jeju Island. Therefore, the ancestors in Jeju created unique ‘mool hubeok’, ‘mool gudeok’ and ‘mool pang’ cultures. A jar containing 20 L water was called ‘mool heobuk’ and a woven bamboo basket to move the mool heobuk was called ‘mool geoduk’ and the place to put down a ‘mool heobuk’ was called ‘mool pang’.
Springs are the life of Jeju residents
Jeju Island has about 1,000 subsurface springs. Spring is life-giving water for Jeju residents that was used not only as drinking water but also as the water for living and agricultural purposes before the 1980s when public water was not supplied enough to meet the demand of all the households in the Island. Jeju Special Self-Governing Province has established the plan for preserving spring water and then developed the programs for ecological learning about the water of Jeju Island and for exploration of its history and culture. This way, the province is using spring water as a tourism resource.
People fetched water to drink, do laundry and take a bath from the nearest spring water and it led to form villages revolving around spring water.