Ijen Crater a.k.a. Kawah Ijen is an active volcano located between Banyuwangi and Bondowoso regency, Java Island – Indonesia. Banyuwangi and Bondowoso also have prepared well for the visitor who will visit Ijen Crater, for example hotels, lodges, homestay or guest house. And it’s so accessible for any of vehicles.
Ijen Crater is one of the beautiful volcanoes in Indonesia which is the world’s largest body of water filled with hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid makes the water to be green. Ijen Crater emitted hydrogen chloride gas, which reacted with the water and formed a highly condensed hydrochloric acid with a pH of almost 0 and the lake has a volume of 1.3 billion cubic feet (36 million cubic meters). It’s amazing, isn’t it?
Nowadays, the people were surprised with the electric- blue flames which come out from the crater of Ijen Crater. Some people said, this is natural phenomenon that can be seen only 2 in the world. Those are Ijen Crater and a volcano in Iceland. But i didn’t agree with those people. The blue fire only can be seen in Ijen Crater and Dallol volcano in the Danakil Depression, in the Afar region of Ethiopia near the borders of Eritrea and Djibouti.
The blue flame in Ijen Crater is unusual phenomenon because it’s different to Dallol volcano in Ethiopia. Indonesia’s Ijen Crater emits the rivers of light from burning sulfur. Sulfur combusts on contact with air to create stunning blue lava-like rivers of light in the Ijen Crater on the island of Java. Electric-blue fire can often be seen streaming down the mountain at night. 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. The burning happens day and night, but it’s visible only in darkness.
Beside the lake and electric- blue flames, you will be amazed with the sulfur miners there. The sulfur miners are able to carry more than 80 kg of sulfur on his shoulder using a bamboo basket by passing the rocky, slippery and steep path. Sulfur mining is Ijen Crater is one of the biggest sulfur mining in Indonesia. It has been started since 1950, the company can collect more than 10 ton per day. But the problem here is the miners weren’t paid very well. They only get IDR 1000 /kg. For example, if somebody carries 80 kg, he will get IDR 80.000 (USD 6) /day. But the production is less now compared 2 years ago because more than 50 % of the miners were resigned from this job and to be a local guide for the tourist. It’s caused by increasing the number of visitors in Ijen Crater.
For reaching the top of Ijen Crater, you should start from Paltuding parking point (1,836 meters). Then, you have to walk for about ± 3 kilometers to reach the top of Ijen Crater (2,368 meters). If you want to see the blue flames, you must go down for 45 minutes ( 800 meters away) by passing slippery, rocky and steep path. Moreover, you must wear a gas mask as protection against toxic gases, including sulfur dioxide and it is impossible to stay a long time close to a dense acid gas although with a mask.