The Ijen volcano complex is a group of strata volcanoes in the Banyuwangi Regency of East Java, Indonesia. It is inside a larger caldera Ijen, which is about 20 kilometers wide. The Gunung Merapi stratovolcano is the highest point of that complex. The name “Merapi” means “mountain of fire” in the Indonesian language; Mount Merapi in central Java and Marapi in Sumatra have the same etymology.
West of Gunung Merapi is the Ijen volcano, which has a one-kilometer-wide turquoise-colored acid crater lake. The lake is the site of a labor-intensive sulfur mining operation, in which sulfur-laden baskets are carried by hand from the crater floor. The work is low-paid and very onerous. Workers earn around Rp 50,000 – 75,000 ($5.50-$8.30) per day and once out of the crater, still need to carry their loads of sulfur chunks about three kilometers to the nearby Pultuding Valley to get paid.
Many other post-caldera cones and craters are located within the caldera or along its rim. The largest concentration of post-caldera cones run east-west across the southern side of the caldera. The active crater at Kawah Ijen has a diameter of 722 meters (2,369 ft) and a surface area of 0.41 square kilometres (0.16 sq mi). It is 200 metres (660 ft) deep and has a volume of 36 cubic hectometers (29,000 acre·ft).
The lake is recognized as the largest highly acidic Crater Lake in the world. It is also a source for the river Banyupahit, resulting in highly acidic and metal-enriched river water which has a significant detrimental effect on the downstream river ecosystem. In 2008, explorer George Kourounis took a small rubber boat out onto the acid lake to measure its acidity. The pH of the water in the crater was measured to be 0.5 due to sulfuric acid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ijen).Ijen plateau or known as “Kawah Ijen” is highly recommended to mountain buffs and hikers. The Plateau was at one time a huge active crater, Today, Ijen is a quiet but active volcano.
Blue Fire Crater
Since National Geographic mentioned the electric-blue flame of Ijen, tourist numbers increased. The phenomenon has occurred for a long time, but beforehand there was no midnight hiking. A two-hour hike is required to reach the rim of the crater, followed by a 45 minute hike down to the bank of the crater. The blue fire is ignited sulfuric gas, which emerges from cracks at temperatures up to 600 degrees Celsius (1,112 degrees Fahrenheit).
The flames can be up to 5 meters (16 feet) high; some of the gas condenses to liquid and is still ignited. It is the largest blue flame area in the world and local people refer to it as ‘Blue Fire’.
How to get there?
The Ijen Plateau can be reached through Bondowoso from either the northern or the southern coast. It is closer to Banyuwangi, but the road is very steep and badly deteriorated. A 4 WD is essential, although difficult to hire in Banyuwangi and outrageously expensive. Most people walk the last 8 km (from about 64 km) along the road to Pos Paltuding (the PHPA Post, the starting point or the trek to the crater) from Bondowoso.
So You can choose your places of stay at Bondowoso or Banyuwangi. There are a few types of accommodation with varying prices and facilities.
What to eat?
Before start trekking, hiking or climbing, be sure that you have already eaten, or you can bring some food and drink from your places. Of stay. Otherwise, you can buy some food and non-alcoholic drink on the nearest supermarkets for your supply during your activities on mountain.
- *The walk starts at Pal Tuding. It’s a basic camp where you can stay overnight. There is a block with showers and toilets
- *At night it can be pretty cold up there, (it is suggested that you carry a sleeping bag). Take your own picnic, since the food you can buy at the parking lot isn’t up to much.
- *The walk up to the crater rim takes 60-90 minutes. It’s pretty steep. Halfway is a small post where the sulphurworkers take a break. A cup of tea is available here.
- *An absolute must is a handkerchief to put in front of your mouth and nose to avoid inhalation of the sulphur gases.
- *If you buy some souvenirs like statues, they are very breakable so tape them in with toilet paper and take precious care of it.
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