Environmental Hell #1: The volcano mines of Kawah Ijen

I keep thinking I should write more worthy articles, but then, I keep finding fantastic things that don't need 800 words of discussion getting in the way. This is one of the latter, and comes courtesy of George Kourounis, ballsy explorer and general badass.

Kourounis took a trip to Indonesia's Kawah Ijen volcano, where miners earn $10 a day for journeying into the depths of a volcano to retrieve sulphur. Here is the site of the world's largest lake of sulphuric acid:


Here is an aluminium can dissolving in the extreme acid (pH ~0.5!):


And here is Kourounis, going for a leisurely paddle around said lake:


The miners will journey to the crater twice a day, hauling up to 100kg of sulphur at a time! To stave off the poisonous sulphur dioxide gas they stuff their mouths with wet rags. Eventually the gas will rot their teeth away. Yikes!


More pics and info on George Kourounis' website.

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At least when you kick back and enjoy a few bevies in your rowing boat, you won't be accused of littering when you toss the used cans into the lake.

I see he's off white water rafting in a river system underground before attempting to be the first person to walk on a new island formed by an under-sea volcano.

Me, I'll be off for a few days in Scotland. They have Midges. Big ones.

Looks like sulfuric acid is surprisingly pretty.