This Indonesian Volcano Is Deadly, But When Night Falls It Turns Into Something Stunningly Beautiful

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Image: Reuben Wu
Image: Reuben Wu

This means that sometimes around Kawah Ijen a number of sulfur miners can be seen hanging around the vents. Some of them hold damp rags to their mouths to act as barriers against breathing in the toxic sulfur gas. It’s a necessary precaution for those who aim to harvest this bright yellow element.

Image: Reuben Wu
Image: Reuben Wu

This process, however, is made easier by the addition of ceramic pipes, which were attached to one of the volcano’s vents. When the sulfur gas comes up through the Earth’s crust, then, it enters the pipes, cools into a liquid and eventually becomes solid. That’s when the workmen fragment the sulfur and heave the resulting deposits onto their backs to transport it away.

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Image: Reuben Wu
Image: Reuben Wu

Still, the miners don’t get much for their labor. Each pound of hard-earned sulfur, in fact, earns them less than 25 cents’ return. Still, there are some perks to the backbreaking work –particularly for those who graft when the sun is set.

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