Wednesday 17 June 2009

Sulfur Mining In Kawah Ijen

In East Java in Indonesia lies the Kawah Ijen volcano, topped with a large caldera and a deep lake of sulfuric acid. The quietly active volcano emits gases through fumaroles inside the crater, and local miners have tapped those gases to earn a living.

Stone and ceramic pipes cap the fumaroles, and inside, the sulfur condenses into a molten red liquid, dripping back down and solidifying into pure sulfur. Miners hack chunks off with steel bars, braving extremely dangerous gases and liquids with minimal protection. The sulfur is then used for vulcanizing rubber, bleaching sugar and other industrial processes.

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