Blue Lava Volcano

Posted on Posted in Global Saga

Hello  friends!! How are you all?? This time we are talking about a rare kind of volcano that produces blue lava on burning. Yes, you have heard it correctly, The Blue Lava Volcano. Lets find out where is it and what’s the reason behind this different colour of lava?? This volcano is popularly called as the Kawah Ijen volcano situated in Indonesia produces the bright blue lava on burning. Although surreal, this bright blue coloration is a result of nothing more than a tweak of chemistry.

Volcanoes come in a variety of destructive flavors, both on Earth and on other planetary bodies in our Solar System. Shield volcanoes like Kilauea effusively erupt lava, fairly slow, over long periods of time. Tall, mountainous stratovolcanoes like Mount Fuji remain silent for many hundreds of years before unleashing their cataclysmic fury on the world. Volcanoes on Io, one of Jupiter’s innermost moons, produce spectacular eruption columns that reach heights of 500 kilometers (310 miles) that are literally out of this world. In any case, the lava produced tends to be an orangey-red color. Incredibly, a volcanic complex in Indonesia that goes by the name of Kawah Ijen bucks this trend: When it erupts, its lava burns an iridescent blue.

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The Ijen volcano complex is a group of composite volcanoes in the Banyuwangi 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; 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 sulfur mining operation, in which sulfur-laden baskets are carried by hand from the crater floor. The work is paid well considering the cost of living in the area, but is very onerous. Workers earn around Rp 50,000 – 75,000 ($5.50-$8.30) per day and once out of the crater, still need to carry their loads of sulfur chunks about three kilometers to the nearby Paltuding Valley to get paid.

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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 14-15, 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 sulfuric acid concentration.

“This blue glow, unusual for a volcano, isn’t the lava itself. It is due to the combustion of sulfuric gases in contact with air at temperatures above 360°C. In other words, the lava — molten rock that emerges from the Earth at ultra-high temperatures — isn’t colored significantly differently than the lava at other volcanoes, which all differ slightly based on their mineral composition but appear a bright red or orange color in their molten state. But at Kawah Ijen, extremely high quantities of sulfuric gases emerge at high pressures and temperatures (sometimes in excess of 600°C) along with the lava.

Exposed to the oxygen present in air and sparked by lava, the sulfur burns readily, and its flames are bright blue. There’s so much sulfur so at times it flows down the rock face as it burns, making it seem as though blue lava is spilling down the mountainside. But because only the flames are blue, rather than the lava itself, the effect is only visible at night — during daytime, the volcano looks like roughly any other.

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