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Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology

Unnamed Undersea Features Reborn with Korean Names

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  • Date : 2018-10-27

Previously-unnamed undersea features have been reborn with beautiful Korean names. The Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Agency (KHOA: Lee Dong-jae, Director General) has announced that three Korean names for undersea features have been registered as internationally-recognized official names at the 31st International Symposium of SCUFN* held in New Zealand October 23 to 27.
* SCUFN: Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names


Since Korean names for ten undersea features, including the Anyongbok Seamount and Ulleung Plateau, were first registered internationally as official names in 2007, the number of undersea features with official Korean names has grown to 57 with the addition of the three new ones this year.


The three Korean undersea feature names registered at this year’s conference are: Uljin Valley in the East Sea, Haedal Seamounts in the Antarctic Ocean, and the KIOST Seamount in the Northwest Pacific Ocean. The listing of these three names is particularly meaningful because not only are Korean-named undersea features in Korea’s territorial waters but also in international waters ? in this case, the Antarctic and the Northwestern Pacific oceans.
Discovered off Korea’s east coast, the Uljin Valley is named after the Korean city of Uljin. The Haedal Seamounts were named due to their similar shape to several swimming haedal (the Korean name for sea otters).


The KIOST Seamount is an undersea volcano in international waters of the Northwest Pacific Ocean to the east of Guam. It was discovered by the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST: Kim Woong-Seo President) during RV Isabu’s exploration of the Western Pacific Ocean in 2017. The KHOA and KIOST have actively collaborated to discover and name undersea features, which has meant an easier process of internationally registering Korean names for their discoveries.


Starting in the Pacific Ocean in 2009, KHOA has been working tirelessly to name and list undersea features not only in South Korea’s territorial waters, but also outside. Recently, the agency conducted a survey of Antarctic waterways and succeeded in officially registering Korean names for international undersea features, such as Seorak Seamount.


Kim Woong-Seo, KIOST President, remarked, “KIOST will utilize the 5,900-ton research vessel RV Isabu to strategically expand topographic exploration in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Data acquired through these explorations will also be provided to the IHO, IOC, and other international organizations as a contribution to international society.”




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Last Update : 2020-03-07