The Blue Lava– A Hot Delight
This universe has so many surprises waiting to be discovered. When you learn that lava is hot molten rock and is mostly fiery yellow in color, there comes a volcano erupting blue lava. Well, it is actually not lava but appears to be. It tricks our eyes. However, this extraordinary blue lava is not really a mystery because we know what it is.
An Indonesian volcanic complex Kawah Ijen presented us with this beauty. The Ijen volcanic complex is a collection of stratovolcanoes in East Java, and it contains a large cauldron-shaped “caldera” spread across approximately 22 kilometers (13.6 miles). The highest peak belongs to the volcano Gunung Merapi, which translates as “mountain of fire.”
The liquid that erupted out of the volcano was not blue lava. Kawaj Ijen has extremely an extremely high concentration of sulfuric gas, which emerges at high pressure and temperature along with the lava. As soon as it gets exposed to oxygen, the sulfur burns and its flames are bright blue.
Sometimes the sulfur flows down the rock, and we see the magnificent blue color that seems like lava. Only the flames are blue, the lava itself is yellowish-orange in color, and that’s why the blue effect is only visible at night- at daytime, the volcano looks like any other.
The burning process tells us much about the reaction that takes place. The sulfurous pockets, released under high pressure, ignite at 600°C (1,112°F), producing flames that reach up to 5 meters (16 feet) high, as the Nerdist reports. Blue-colored flames indicate high energy, which means that the blue flames of Kawah Ijen are incredibly energetic.
Many workers work and collect sulfur for mere wages. Inhaling the sulfur is very dangerous, and these workers work without proper gear. Some workers use a wet cloth as a makeshift mask, but that doesn’t make their job very easy, comfortable, or even safe. They have created several pipes and tunnels to channel the sulfur from the volcanic gases down into ground pools. The sulfur hardens and dries, turning yellow before workers break it apart into smaller pieces to sell at local refineries.
If you are planning to see this beauty with bear eyes, don’t forget to protect yourself first, for you really need to come back and tell amazing stories.