The Kawah Ijen volcano in Indonesia isn't special because of its lake, or sulfur chambers, it's special because of its blue lava. The lava in the Kawak Ijen volcano is blue, but is it really?
The lava in the volcano only looks blue when it mixes with the sulfur. All lava emits flames, in this case, it's the flames that perform the magic. When the flames hit the sulfur in the air they appear blue, but only in the absence of light. Surrounding the volcano there is a large caldera lake. A caldera lake is a lake that surrounds a volcano in the spot where the lava once was. This caldera lake is the worlds largest and stands at 1 km wide. More on the topic of the caldera lake, it is also very high in acidity. If you put a soda can in the lake it will begin to bubble and deteriorate.
How does the sulfur get into the air? The sulfur enters the air through the many holes drilled in the mountains by sulfur miners. The miners solidify the sulfur and sell it. They walk 3 miles every day to get this sulfur to markets. They each carry 16 pounds worth of sulfur every day on this journey. When the sulfur mixes with the oxygen at 350 degrees Celsius it makes the flames appear electric blue. In daylight, however, the flames and lava appear normal.
To conclude, the Kawah Ijen volcano is very special. Not because of the worlds largest caldera lake, or the sulfur tunnels. It's special because of its blue flames. Not blue lava.
By, Anabel Kehoe
Picture credit, Olivier Grunewald