A blue volcano, with blue lava? Well yes, but no. This #nofilter image of an Indonesian vulcano (above) was captured by French photographer Olivier Grunewald in Java.

Anything Blue review – a blue volcano in Indonesia, another one in Ethiopia

The ‘blue magma’ rolling down the Kawah Ijen (Ijen Crater, East Java, Indonesia) is actually liquid sulfur, burning blue as it reacts to the air. The glow from the blue flames is best seen at night, witness the featured photography.

The Ijen volcano is also known for its green lake. National Geographic reports about the natural phenomenon below, while giving us a background of the sulfur mining industry in Indonesia.

Another example of stunning electric blue flames follows, pictured by the same Olivier Grunewald nearby an African volcano, in the Afar region of Ethiopia.


‘Stunning Electric-Blue Flames Erupt From Volcanoes – National Geographic

Sulfur combusts on contact with air to create stunning blue lava-like rivers of light in the Kawah Ijen crater on the island of Java.

For several years Paris-based photographer Olivier Grunewald has been documenting the Kawah Ijen volcano in Indonesia, where dazzling, electric-blue fire can often be seen streaming down the mountain at night.

“This blue glow—unusual for a volcano—isn’t, of course, lava, as unfortunately can be read on many websites,” Grunewald told National Geographic in an email about Kawah Ijen, a volcano on the island of Java.

The glow is actually the light from the combustion of sulfuric gases, Grunewald explained.

Those gases emerge from cracks in the volcano at high pressure and temperature—up to 1,112°F (600°C). When they come in contact with the air, they ignite, sending flames up to 16 feet (5 meters) high.

Some of the gases condense into liquid sulfur, “which continues to burn as it flows down the slopes,” said Grunewald, “giving the feeling of lava flowing.”


Grunewald has also documented the blue glow on the Dallol volcano in the Danakil Depression, in the Afar region of Ethiopia near the borders of Eritrea and Djibouti.’

blue volcano @National Geographic - Anything Blue

A blue volcano in Ethiopia, Africa. Credits photo Olivier Grunewald @National Geographic – Anything Blue


Source: Indonesia’s Kawah Ijen and other craters emit rivers of light from burning sulfur by Brian Clark Howard (30 January 2014) – Photograph by Olivier Grunewald @National Geographic