Inside one of the most dangerous jobs in the world

These fearless geologists are captured on photo carrying out one of the most dangerous jobs in the world – collecting lava from inside live volcanoes.

The workers can be seen in a series of captivating images going about their risky everyday work at the summit of live volcanoes in Hawaii.

Their jobs are crucial to help gather information and understand patterns in volcanic activity.

These geologists work for the United States Geological Survey, which says on its website: “Hot lava samples provide important information about what’s going on in a volcano’s magma chambers.

“We know from laboratory experiments that the more magnesium there is in magma, the hotter it is.

“Chemical analysis, therefore, provides the means not only to determine the crystallization history of lava but also to establish the temperature at which it was erupted.

“For example, Kilauea’s 1997 lavas are chemically different from lavas erupted from 1985 to 1997.

“Chemical analyses show that magma was supplied by two distinct magma bodies.”

The pictures, by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), were taken in Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, Hawaii, an area which is monitored with a network of web-cams which feed information to researchers.

An HVO spokesperson said: “HVO geologists also collect oblique aerial photographs and infrared images of lava flows during helicopter missions, and then use computer software to stitch them together to form large mosaics.

“Maps from mosaics of infrared images provide remarkable “pictures” of the many surface breakouts on an active flow, which allows better analysis of current flow behavior, as well as recent history and future advance of the flow.”


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