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Ijen Crater Blue Fire Tour

Ijen

The Ijen volcano complex is a group of composite volcanoes located on the border between Banyuwangi Regency and Bondowoso Regency of East Java, Indonesia. It is inside a larger caldera Ijen, which is about 20 kilometres wide. The Gunung Merapi stratovolcano is the highest point of that complex. The name "Gunung Merapi" means "mountain of fire" in the Indonesian language (api being "fire"); Mount Merapi in central Java and Marapi in Sumatra have the same etymology.
West of Gunung Merapi is the Ijen volcano, which has a one-kilometre-wide turquoise-coloured acidic crater lake. The lake is the site of a labour-intensive sulphur mining operation, in which sulphur-laden baskets are carried by hand from the crater floor. Many other post-caldera cones and craters are located within the caldera or along its rim. The largest concentration of post-caldera cones run east-west across the southern side of the caldera. The active crater at Kawah Ijen has a diameter of 722 metres (2,369 ft.) and a surface area of 0.41 square kilometres (0.16 sq. mi). It is 200 metres (660 ft.) deep and has a volume of 36 cubic hectometres (29,000-acre ft.).
The lake is recognised as the largest highly acidic crater lake in the world. It is also a source for the river Banyupahit, resulting in highly acidic and metal-enriched river water which has a significant detrimental effect on the downstream river ecosystem. On July 2008, explorer George Kourounis took a small rubber boat out onto the acid lake to measure its acidity, the pH of the water in the lake's edges was measured to be 0.5 and in the middle of the lake 0.13 due to high sulphuric acid concentration

Blue Fire Crater, since National Geographic mentioned the electric-blue flame of Ijen, tourist numbers increased. The phenomenon has occurred for a long time, but beforehand there was no midnight hiking. A two-hour hike is required to reach the rim of the crater, followed by a 45-minute hike down to the bank of the crater. The blue fire is ignited sulphuric gas, which emerges from cracks at temperatures up to 600 °C (1,112 °F). The flames can be up to five meters (16 feet) high; some of the gas condenses to liquid and is still ignited. It is the largest blue flame area in the world and local people refer to it as 'Blue Fire'.

Sulphur Mining at Ijen, an active vent at the edge of the lake is a source of elemental sulphur, and supports a mining operation. Escaping volcanic gases are channelled through a network of ceramic pipes, resulting in condensation of molten sulphur. The sulphur, which is deep red in colour when molten, pours slowly from the ends of these pipes and pools on the ground, turning bright yellow as it cools. The miners break the cooled material into large pieces and carry it away in baskets. Miners carry loads ranging from 75 to 90 kilograms (165 to 198 lb), up 300 metres (980 ft.) to the crater rim, with a gradient of 45 to 60 degrees and then 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) down the mountain for weighing. Most miners make this journey twice a day. A nearby sulphur refinery pays the miners by the weight of sulphur transported. The miners often receive insufficient protection while working around the volcano and complain of numerous respiratory afflictions. There are 200 miners, who extract 14 tons per day – about 20% of the continuous daily deposit.

Ijen Crater
Sulphur Mining at Ijen

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