Did you know you can hike a volcano and visit a sulfur mine? Hike up to the top of the volcano at Kawah Ijen volcano in Indonesia. There you’ll find volcano sulfur mining. I found it fascinating!
Firstly, I’ll explain how it works and where you can find it. Next, I’ll explain what sulfur is used for. Then, I’ll provide some photos from my experience.
Where can you find Sulfur Mining?
Visit Indonesia in eastern Java, Indonesia. Upon arrival you can hike up to the top of Kawah Ijen volcano. Start your day early.
Also, ideally you’ll want to choose a clear day, since it’s overlooking the turquoise acid crater lake.
This sulfur mine has been active since 1968. There’s a labor intensive sulfur mining operation there with about 300 miners.
How Sulfur Mining works?
Miners extract the sulfur and carry it 8,660 feet up and down the mountain. These miners face excruciating heat, toxic fumes, and heavy loads.
In exchange the miners are rewarded with only about five dollars per trip.
Volcano Sulfur Mining photo tour
Sulfur Mining photos from our Kawah Ijen volcano adventure are below.
What is Sulfur mining used for?
The main use is in making chemicals for agriculture, mostly for fertilizers. Other uses of sulfur include refining petroleum, metal mining, and the production of organic and inorganic chemicals.
Sulfur is called “Devil’s Gold” by some
What does sulfur look like?
Why is sulfur in volcanoes?
Kawah Ijen – I certainly don’t recommend eating sulfur deposits
Sulfur is VERY heavy
Hike up Kawah Ijen volcano
As you hike up towards the peak of the Kawah Ijen volcano crater, visibility gets worse with each step.
Visibility and colors change with each step. The air gets more difficult to breathe you get towards the peak due to the sulfur.
Kawah Ijen, turquose crater lake
Visit Kawah Ijen for the view of a turquoise crater lake surrounded by Volcanoes. After seeing this photo of Ijen I knew I wanted to visit! It looks gorgeous – a turquoise crater lake in the middle of a group of volcanoes.
But manage your expectations, because you might end up with zero visibility like my experience.
We took a red-eye road trip to the base. Then, a difficult 2-hour drive up the mountain to the base. Next, a hike up where air that became more difficult to breathe. Additionally, the overcast sky became nothing but fog, with visibility only a few feet in some places. All we saw was this:
More sulfur mining volcano photos
My favorite photos of Kawah Ijen come from the on the Boston Globe website, as well as photography of the sulfur mines at Ijen here, and here.
My favorite volcano experience was volcano boarding in Nicaragua. You can actually hike up the and go volcano sledding!