Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Volcano “Kawah Ijen” That Spews Blue Lava

At first look you might consider the otherworldly light in these pictures comes from a nebula or another planet deep in outer space or probably you have heard of "red hot lava" or "white hot" to describe searing temperatures, so but what about "blue hot lava"? Kawah Ijen is one of several volcanoes located within the 20 kilometers wide Ijen Caldera in East Java, Indonesia. The caldera of Kawah Ijen harbors a kilometer-wide, turquoise colored, acidic crater lake that leaks sulphurous gases constantly. That's the surreal hue of Indonesia's Kawah Ijen Volcano, which glows with an otherworldly "blue lava".

Normally at night the hot gases burn to emit an eerie blue glow that is distinctive to Kawah Ijen. These gases emerge from the cracks in the volcano at high pressure and temperature, up to 600°C, and when they come in contact with the air, they ignite, sending flames up to 16 feet high. Specific gases condense into liquid sulfur, and continues to burn as it flows down the slopes giving the feeling of blue lava flowing. Kawah Ijen’s sulphuric gases are also mined for sulphur. The volcanic gases are trapped by the native miners and channeled through a network of ceramic pipes, which in result of condensation of molten sulfur.

The sulfur, normally red in color when molten, pours gradually from the ends of these pipes and pools on the ground, turning bright yellow as it cools.The expert miners break the cooled material into big pieces and carry it away in baskets to an adjacent refinery. In this way an expert worker can earn up to $13 dollars a day. Therefore you can’t imagine the intense heat and extremely hazardous condition with insufficient protection. Many workers suffer various respiratory problems due to breathing toxic fumes day in and out. So they’d prefer to work at night to escape the heat of the sun, and to earn extra income as well. These astonishing images are captured by photographer Olivier Grunewald, who lost two lenses and a camera to sulphuric corrosion while trying to capture the mysterious pictures.