Image of the Day: Electric blue volcano

In today's world of aggressive special effects, regular old volcanoes just don't cut it anymore. So they blow up. Meh. Lava? Boooring. The only thing that'll really hold our attention now are either freaky volcanic lightning storms, or burning sulfur in a particularly hellish shade of electric blue.

The Kawah Ijen volcano in Indonesia doubles as a sulfur mine, where locals pull the stuff out of the ground by hand and then hike it 200 nearly vertical meters out of the volcano, followed by several more kilometers to find someone who'll pay them for it. By making two trips a day, a determined miner can end up with about $13, plus serious health problems caused by sulfur inhalation. The blue flames come from burning streams of liquid sulfur, before it crystallizes into the yellow solid that gets used in such critical applications as making sugar look white.

Photographer Olivier Grunewald has spent years capturing life at Kawah Ijen, and he's got a documentary coming out, a preview of which you can see here. Skip to 1:30 for the trippy parts.

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Olivier Grunewald, via Boston.com and Gizmodo

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