Now there are places in the world where you can go and see these forces of change in a relatively safe environment…. if you take notice of the dangers!!!
One of these places is the incredible active volcano called Mt Yasur that’s on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu. To get to Tanna you first have to fly into the main town/city of Villa that’s on the island of Efate and from there you take a one-hour flight to Tanna.
To fully appreciate the beauty and to see the fiery red colour of the lava and the explosive lava bombs you need to go on an evening tour. So it’s best to try and stay overnight or a couple of nights to really enjoy your visit to this magnificent volcano.
We stayed at a beautiful place called ‘White Grass’ that’s right on the water on the western side of the island that is a real island paradise and not that far away from the airport.
To reach the volcano you have to take a two-hour drive in a 4WD on some very rough roads, but the scenery is just so lush and beautiful and you pass many local villages surrounded by very happy children.
As you arrive closer to the eastern side of the island, you come to this amazing lookout where you see this smoking mountain down by the sea that leaves a trail of dark ash mixed with cloud flowing high across the horizon. As you descend down to sea level the road becomes softer and more comfortable to drive on, it’s then that you realise, that in reality, your now driving on compounded volcanic ash and it’s still floating softly down from the sky.
The road up to the volcano is smouldering with gas and smoke coming out of the ground reminding you that we are very much on an active part of the earth’s surface.
After a while of driving through lush green forest to our surprise, you come out to a huge ash field devoid of all plant life where you look up at the volcano, about every 4 minutes it explodes and black plumes of smoke full the air…and we are going to climb up there!!!
The 4WD is able to drive quite a way up the back of the volcano but there’s still quite a steep track you climb to reach the outer rim of the cone…all the time the volcano explodes and the ground shakes…very thrilling indeed!
What your presented with when you get to the top you really have to see to believe, huge plumes of pyroclastic explosions of gas, smoke and molten rock that explode out of the large cone that then falls back into the caldera.
You have to really take note of what your guide tells you because these molten lava bombs may eject toward you so you must at all times respect what they are saying…. your life really does depends on it.
Now this is where it is really better to visit the volcano late in the afternoon toward evening because as the sun sets the colour of the explosive lava bombs go from being a dark black colour to fiery red and as night falls the whole inside of the caldera erupts into an inferno…just an absolutely breath-taking spectacle!!!
Please see below a montage of images that I’ve made up from our visit to the incredible volcano in Vanuatu :-)
I’ve also posted a little story and pictures on spaceweather.com at: