Monday, 11 July 2016

The Gateway to Hell, Ethiopia

A daring 38 years photographer captures rare images of Lava Lake that's been flowing for more than 100 years in Afar Ethiopia. The Lake is one of world’s oldest continuously active lava lakes flowing since 1906. The Portuguese photographer Joel Santos, piloted a drone over the bubbling lake just a meter from the edge. The temperatures exceeding 1,100 degrees Celsius, lies inside the 2,011 foot high Erta Ale volcano.  The last threating eruption occurred in Sep 2005, almost killed 250 livestock and forced people to evacuate the area. The photographer was well aware of life threating chance of devastating natural phenomenon at such close quarters. The Joel Santos said, this was one of my dangerous projected I’ve done so far, because I was just 20 meters away from the Lava and one meter from the edge. The crater rim is changing lava moves up and down, particularly when it overflows. You have to be very careful, the ground you’re standing is solid, but could be soft, make you plunge into Lava Lake. I used a drone camera to capture the 4K footage, which could handle the scorching condition around the Lake rim. The heat waves are so strong, could cause it melt or crash. After every 2 or 3 minutes I heard a small hiss of pressure beneath the volcano, which I can’t predict when a crack just opens wide.

The entire volcano begins to bursting with lava into the air. The Danakil Desert is officially the hottest inhabited place on earth. In spite of intense heat, I took the chances to make film in early morning and late at night. In fact it’s a basaltic shield volcano and there are only 6 in the world. This is actually an unbelievable experience, amazes me how nature works. In 2012, various tourists were kidnapped, injured and some of them killed in this area. So, my passion and aim didn’t hurt with these facts. However, now Ethiopian military camp site has been established there to protect visitors. In 2009, BBC TV show The Hottest Place on Earth went there to record a world first 3D laser image of the volcanoes, provide a unique window into our planet's interior. The Gateway to Hell is the incandescent bubbling lava lake hisses like some badly burned porridge cauldron, overturning and occasionally belching molten lava. 

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