Photographer's Note

The Ijen volcano in East Java, Indonesia.Ijen volcano has a one-kilometer-wide turquoise-colored acid crater lake.The lake is the site of intensive sulfur mining operation, in which sulfur-laden baskets are carried by hand from the crater floor. The active crater at Kawah Ijen has radius about 360 meters and it is 200 meters deep. And it is the world's largest highly acidic lake. In 2008 measure of acidity in the acid lake was done and the pH of the sulfuric acid in the crater was measured to be 0.5 !
The sulfur is transported entirely on foot. In the past, horses were used but they were found to be less practical on the hazardous terrain. Today,the mine yields nine to twelve tons of sulfur per day. Men carry individual loads of up to more than hundred kilos, sometime barefoot, mostly gumbooted or in flip-flops up to the rim of crater and then a few kms down the mountainside.They start very early morning and pass this trip twice a day. Mountain ridges are often shrouded in a smelling swirling sulfur clouds. When such cloud crossed our path, we pretty suffocated, the tears run down our faces and long time we cough out sulphur acid phlegm.
I never saw such terrific work and, willy-nilly, famous film Papillon came back to my mind..

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Additional Photos by Jiri Vondracek (jiridracek) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 66 W: 0 N: 255] (2038)
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