When the Sea Parts in South Korea

In the Bible, the Red Sea parts to let Moses and the Israelites escape the Egyptian Army. Then its waters close up and swallow the pursuers. South Korea experiences the same phenomenon a few times a year, though it’s got nothing to do with pursuing or being pursued. South Korea’s Jindo County is an archipelago — a collection of islands — in the Jindo Sea. The biggest of these islands is also called Jindo. Periodically, a path appears that connects Jindo to the smaller island of Modo, which lies almost two miles away. The locals celebrate by holding the annual Jindo Sea-Parting Festival. While there's a superstitious legend that ties into the phenomenon, scientists have another explanation: “tidal harmonics.” Tides are caused by a variety of factors, such as the rotation of the earth and its relation to the sun and moon. Tides typically move in fairly consistent rhythms and ranges, but when most or all of the various tidal factors sync up at once, very high or low ties can result. So, it’s not that the Jindo Sea "parts" — it’s that the sea level drops and reveals a piece of the sea floor that’s about 130-200 feet wide. Exposed for about an hour, this path allows visitors to stroll between Jindo and Modo to harvest exposed clams and seaweed. Even though the waters part 2-3 times a year, typically between March and June, the festival is only held once a year, and when that happens people come from near and far to enjoy it.