Sulfur Mining in the Kawah Ijen Volcano Crater, Java

July 08, 2015


Photographer: Joel Santos
Summary Author: Joel Santos

July 2015 Viewer's ChoiceShown above is a sulfur mine in the Kawah Ijen Volcano Crater, Java, Indonesia. In the alien and nearly unbreathable atmosphere of this crater, sulfur is mined for the production of rubber and makeup. The sulfur fumes were so overwhelming that after I had taken this photo and a series of others, my eyes burned for two days and my clothes smelled of sulfur for months afterwards. I can only imagine what the miners suffer. The blue fire phenomenon visible above the miner is caused by ignition of the sulfuric gases as well as other volcanic gases emerging from fractures and fumaroles in the crater.

On this nighttime scene, whenever there were gaps in the gas plumes, a few stars could be detected. Photo taken on September 13, 2014.

Photo Details: Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III; Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM; Focal Length: 16mm; Aperture: ƒ/4.0; Exposure Time: 0.600 s; ISO equiv: 6400; Software: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.7 (Macintosh).