Geography of South Korea

Geography of South Korea

South Korea is located between 124°11’00” and 131°52’42” East longitude and 33°06’40” and 43°00’39” North latitude. In the north, Korea borders on China and the Russian Federation. The western coast of Korea is washed by the Yellow Sea, the eastern coast by the Sea of Japan. The depth of the seas does not exceed 100 m, so the bottom forms a shallow continental shelf. Shallow seas are favorable for fishing. On the shallow shelf since the 1990s. geological survey work is underway to search for mineral resources. The weak and warm Kuroshio current, coming from the Philippines, bifurcates at the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula. One current flows into the Yellow Sea along the western coast of Korea, the other into the Sea of Japan. These currents do not significantly affect winter temperatures. The strong East Korea Current (Tonghan Current) flows along the east coast in a northerly direction and has a high temperature gradient compared to neighboring waters. The main part of the east coast is characterized by higher winter temperatures than the west coast due to the influence of the monsoons and the warm current.

The east coast has a relatively flat coastline. The largest bays located here are Enkhyn and Yenil. A network of lagoons, including the most famous Gyeongpo and Hwangjinpo, create favorable conditions for tourism. The western coast has an indented coastline, characterized by an abundance of tidal flats, a wide range of tides (6-9.3 m). The largest island of Jeju with an area of 1777 km2 is located off the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula.

Most of the territory (70%) of Korea is occupied by hills and mountains. The Nannim mountain range in the North and Taebaek in the South stretch in a north-south direction and serve as a watershed between the western and eastern slopes. Smaller mountain ranges run parallel to each other from northeast to southwest. In the region of the Kema Plateau, at an altitude of 1500 m above sea level, there is the highest peak on the Korean Peninsula – Mount Paektusan (2744 m). Other mountain peaks are Mount Nannimsan in the area of the Nannim Range in the North, Hallasan Mountain on Jeju Island (1950 m) of volcanic origin, as well as Mount Seoraksan (1780 m) and Geumgangsan (1638 m), which attract tourists with their scenic beauty. The largest rivers (km): Amnokkan (790), Naktong (525), Tumangan (521) and Hangang (514).

Most of the soils are of granite or gneiss origin with an admixture of limestone and volcanic rocks. Agriculture is based on soils of artificial origin, formed by man over a long period of time.

In Korea, reserves of hard and brown coal, iron ore, polymetallic ores, gold, silver, graphite, and salt have been identified. The main part of the mineral resources is located in the north of the Korean Peninsula.

Wild fauna in Korea is represented by large mammals (tiger, leopard, black Himalayan and brown Ussuri bear, lynx, spotted deer, deer, musk deer), as well as birds (379 species recorded), small mammals (badger, marten, weasel), 25 species reptiles, 14 amphibians and 130 freshwater fish. Tiger, lynx, and other large mammals live in the highlands in the north of the Korean Peninsula.

According to BRIDGAT, the climate of Korea is continental, monsoonal. The summer monsoon brings heavy rainfall. The winter monsoon is dry and brings low temperatures. The average temperature in January is 0–3.5°С in the south of the peninsula and from -6°С (in the flat part) to -26°С (in the region of the Kema plateau) in the north, the average temperature in July is +25.3°С in the south and +22-25°С in the North. The average annual rainfall ranges from 500 mm in the central and eastern regions to 1400-1500 mm on the southern coast. 70% of precipitation falls from June to September. The fluctuation of annual indicators is great: once every 8 years, the annual rainfall in the South falls below 1000 mm.

The climate of the Korean Peninsula is influenced by two types of cyclones. One type – spring, brings heavy rainfall in March-April and early summer. The second type is typhoons that come to Korea in July-August. Every 2-3 years there is a strong typhoon that can cause significant damage.

Geography of South Korea