While this eerie landscape may look more akin to a distant planet or star, these pictures of a volcano spewing blue lava were captured in Indonesia courtesy of one of Earth's most spectacular natural phenomenons. While the lava is usually an orange-red colour, the blue glow comes from flames produced when escaping sulphuric gases burn up inside the volcano in searing 600C heat. The volcano, known as the Ijen Crater, is located in East Java and is used by miners who rely on the sulphur, which gives off toxic fumes, for their livelihoods. The incredible images were taken by brave photographer Keow Wee Loong, who snuck into the volcano's grounds under the cover of darkness earlier this month. Miners have run ceramic pipes from vents in the side of the mountain to collection points inside a large crater where the molten chemical is left to cool before being broken up and carried away. They work in treacherous conditions at the bottom of the crater, wearing nothing other than t-shirts and trousers as they collect the yellow material. They must also avoid the deadly turquoise-blue lake which takes up most of the crater floor as it is made up of almost pure sulphuric acid and would instantly kill anyone unlucky enough to fall in. Mr Loong, 26, stood just four feet away from the lava as it spewed from the crater, wearing a gas mask to deal with the toxic fumes. 'I was told by locals I wasn't allowed to go up to the crater because the toxic fumes are hazardous,' he said. 'They said there could be some dangerous volcanic activity. 'I had a full-face gas mask with me to protect myself - ignoring their warning - I and got in through a secret entrance. 'I was inside the crater for five hours and spent time photographing the amazing flame. 'A lot of people are amazed to see a volcano with blue flame in it.' More pics via Daily Mail Online.
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