Saturday, December 31, 2011

Brimstone Extraction In Indonesia

To the South of the island of Java among green mountains overgrown with forests one can find Ijen volcano. It does not spatter with lava anymore, but is still hot - grey exhalations are still shooting up from from the volcano.

View from the highest spot of the volcano.

It is the neighboring mountain. Ijen looks pretty much the same, but smokes from the top.

One starts to notice baskets scattered along the road. These are baskets with brimstone.


Workers try to get brimstone from the crater before noon when it fills up with smoke.

Weight of the baskets can reach 100 kilos.

It is said that they earn only about four dollars for such two baskets.

Closer to the crater one starts to smell hydrogen sulphide.

Landscape changes: brown-red ground, wilted bushes and trees.

Workers get gloomy, but continue to carry their weight.

Such equipment is pretty necessary at some point as it becomes difficult to breath.

Crater's edge.

There is no sunshine here as the smoke blocks it.

If you wear respirators you may go down, the main thing is not to breathe deeply.

From time to time the smoke thins out and one can see a piece of the hill.

The very center of the crater. A very beautiful place, in fact, despite hard breathing.

Let's come to the very crater. Now let's have a look what's going on inside.

The smoke is left somewhere behind and it gets easier to breathe. All the surface is littered with small pieces of brimstone.

If one wants to get larger pieces, one has to go further.

These people don't wear respirators and are very happy. Are they made of steel?

Let's discover the very process of brimstone extraction. The main tool is crowbar.

Workers prick out brimstone pieces from sulphuric mass.

And carry them to the baskets.

Fresh brimstone has the color of cognac.

But where does it come from?

Pipes are installed inside the cracks in the rock, the temperature inside the pipes reaches 250 °С.

Sulphur vapor gets inside such barrels which are eaten away by corrosion.

It flows down creating beautiful patterns.

As well as icicles.

Don't try to get some icicles with your bare hands.

This worker fills a plastic cup with melted brimstone.

And pours it out into such moulds and gets a pretty crab which can be sold to some tourists later on.

Such picturesque lake was created by nature in the very center of the crater.

You may imagine how tired the workers are here, so they gladly take cookies from tourists.

If you happen to visit Ijen crater you'll continually ask yourself a single question: "How all these people can breathe here?"

In spite of such hard conditions people are very cheerful and friendly.
via silvar

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