Kawah Ijen: the Blue Lava Volcano

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Does Asia Attract You? Are you passionate about archipelagos? Do you like curiosities? Then Indonesia and the Kawah Ijen volcanic complex, with the mysterious phenomenon of blue lava, is the one for you.
This particular volcanic complex, which has acquired notoriety thanks to a report by National Geographic, is located in Indonesia in the Banyuwangi Regency, in the eastern part of the island of Jawa, and is located within the Ijen caldera, about 20 kilometers wide.


  1. The Mystery of the Blue Lava
  2. How to reach the crater
  3. The largest acid lake in the world
  4. User questions and comments

The Mystery of the Blue Lava

Many geologists, volcanologists, hikers or simple tourists visit the Kawah Ijen volcanic complex (2.148 m above sea level) every year, and then remain indelibly marked by the beauty and particularity of the place: but why are we talking about mystery of the blue lava? What is the cause of this phenomenon?

If during the day Kawah Ijen erupts an intense red lava, during the night there is a completely atypical spectacle: with the darkness, the lava from the volcanic complex takes on a fluorescent blue color.
This happens due to the high amount of sulfur present both in the composition of the lava itself and on the outside: when it comes out, the gas condenses into liquid sulfur, which flows along the walls of the volcano giving rise to this unusual spectacle.

But that's not all: in addition to the blue lava, the combustion of the gas leads to the development of very high flames, up to 4 meters.
The gas released is potentially deadly for humans, so volcanologists experts warn anyone who wants to go to this magical place, inviting them to inquire and become aware of the dangers that can be run, as well as the necessary precautions.

How to reach the crater

Going to the crater is possible, but you have to be very careful and bring gas masks and other specific protections with you.
To reach the crater, at about 2.883 m above sea level, a trekking route lasting about two hours and of medium difficulty: the effort is certainly rewarded by the beauty and uniqueness of the landscape.

The largest acid lake in the world

On the top of the Kawah Ijen volcanic complex there is a crater lake known to be the largest acid lake in the world: its waters in fact contain very high levels of sulfuric acid.

Every day a team of men and women works to extract the sulfur present, continuously risking death due to the presence of highly toxic gases and vapors: it is estimated that each of these people carries material on their shoulders daily for a total weight of about 70 kg. The sulfur is then resold to the petrochemical industry.
The acidity of the lake has an impact on nearby river ecosystems, including the Banyupahit River.

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