Saturday, October 23, 2010

Walking along Goseong Dinosaur Tracks

From Oddity to Fame

In 1982 a specialist explained the odd rock imprints that had been a veritble puzzle to the locals in the Goseong area. Despite puzzlement when asked, locals principally ignored the peculiar rock impressions (although some regarded them as traces of cow excrement), but no one interpretted their presence as a mysterious link to a prehistoric past. Once, however, a specialist proclaimed the tracks as indeed a "gold mine" for dinosaur tracks, the area developed into a tourist attraction, hosting national and international visitors in the thousands every year, especially considering that due to the concentration of tracks, Goseong is considered one of the top dinosaur sites in the world - the top three being: Goseong, a site in Colorado, and Argentina's tracks.

The Goseong tracks in the Sangjogam Country Park can be seen around the clock as they are on a beautifully landscaped raised boardwalk for tourists to casually stroll along at low or high tide and view the huge diversity of tracks. The best viewing time is at low-tide, particularly when the moon is pulling the tide out, as few tracks can be seen when the gentle lap of water washes around the feet of the boardwalk that circles around two rocky promontories and curls along a wide beachy area.

The black layers of sediment rock lie slightly tilted toward the sea, and on these tilted sheets are the footprints of the ancient giants, whose tell-tale passing is certified in the igneous rocks. Goseong and the whole of Korea has very few fragments of the giants of yesteryear, but the footprints in the sedement are virtually the only physical traces of their passing.

What Are Dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs supposedly dominated the world in the Mesozoic Era until the Cretaceous Period (about 65 million years ago). The name "dinosaur" itself is a creation from two Greek words - "deinos" meaning "terrible" and "saurous" meaning lizard. As evolutionists believe dinosaurs walked the earth in domination and autonomy only during the Mesozoic Era. The various "terrible lizards" strolled the earth while slicing through the air above were the flying pterosaurs and swarming through the seas were icthyosaurs and plesiosaurs.

Korea has a rich dinosaur track population, and in fact, is the world's most dense concentration of dinosaurs and birds along its southern coast. Along the 6 km-long shoreline of Sangjogam County Park where this particular grouping of tracks are located are more than 1900 sets of footprints. Footprints here are from the quadruped, herbivorous dinos with long necks (sauropods - the most numerous here), the bipedal and quadripedal herbivores (ornithopods), and the bipedial carnivor dinosaurs (theropods - relatively rare when compared with the representation of sauropods present).

What is very unique about this site is that 70% of the dinosaur tracks in Goseong are parallel trails of ornithopods classified into nine different species, suggesting that these track-makers were moving in a herd. In various places dyke (cooling magma) and columnar joints (the rapid cooling and contraction of cooling lava) disrupt the dinosaur tracks in some spots.

Ripple marks in the sedement give geologists clues for interpretation of wave action, direction of the flow of water and lake turmoil/passivity based on the size and shape of the ripple marks left behind on the paleoshore.

This site has been designated as Natural Monument site #411, and Korea is trying to have these sites be inscribed on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage list under the title of Korean Cretaceous Dinosaur Coast.


  1. Great information. I've visited the Sangjokam County Park a number of times, along with the Dinosaur Museum and the Dinosaur Expo at Donghangpo Tourist Resort.

    I'm currently taking a writing course and was going to right an article on the trace fossils. I was wondering where you got your information on the dinosaur tracks? Was it from the museum? My Korean is not good so I am looking for another source.

  2. I don't think my previous comment posted. I'll try again:

    I love this post. I've visited Sangjokam County Park, the Goseong Dinosaur Museum, and the Dinosaur Expo a number of times. It is by far my favorite part of Korea.

    I am currently taking a writing course and was hoping to write an article on the dinosaur tracks in the area. I was wondering where you got your information for this post? Was it from the museum? My Korean is not that good and I was hoping to find another source... in English!

  3. Most of the info I got was online and in English. Before I take a "big" trip somwewhere to explore, I like to find out as much as I can so I know what to look for. For the trips to dinosaur track areas I spent a few hours searching and reading stuff on the web, some of it rather scientific. I wish I saved the links. I sent a bunch of them to my cousin who's into geology/archaeology/evolution and I've sold him on a visit to see the dino tracks! He just needs some vacation time now :P