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Wolfgang Weinhardt

Pro Mitglied, Berlin

Sulfur Miner 16 ~ Kawah Ijen

The Ijen volcano complex is a group of stratovolcanoes, in 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.

An active vent at the edge of the lake is a source of elemental sulfur, and supports a mining operation. Escaping volcanic gasses are channeled through a network of ceramic pipes, resulting in condensation of molten sulfur. The sulfur, which is deep red in color when molten, pours slowly from the ends of these pipes and pools on the ground, turning bright yellow as it cools. The cooled material is broken into large pieces and carried out in baskets by the miners. Typical loads range from 70–100 kilograms, and must be carried to the crater rim approximately 200 meters above before being carried several kilometers down the mountain. Most miners make this journey twice a day. The miners are paid by a nearby sugar refinery by the weight of sulfur transported; as of September 2010 the typical daily earnings were equivalent to approximately $13.00 US. The miners often use insufficient protection while working around the volcano and are susceptible to numerous respiratory complaints

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