I am no kind of daredevil, not by any stretch of the imagination. When I think back to all the stuff I did without thinking as a kid, a little touch of nausea hits my stomach and my knees hurt as I imagine all of the various ways things can go horribly wrong. (I used to regularly huck myself off 30 or 40-foot cliffs without a second thought with nothing but skis strapped to my feet, and now that thought terrifies me.) But you have to be thankful for the more adrenaline-fueled among us, because without them we’d never get videos like this one of people climbing down into the frothing mouth of an active volcano.
Sam Cossman and George Kourounis, with a sizeable assist from volcanic exploration pioneers Geoff Mackely and Brad Ambrose, recently became some of the first people to ever set foot inside one of the planet’s least accessible, most dangerous volcanoes. I feel like just a normal, everyday, right around the corner volcano would be more than enough for me, no need to go searching for something out of the ordinary.
They donned heat resistant suits and rappelled into what definitely has the appearance of the very mouth of hell, the Marum Crater, getting way too close for comfort to the fiery, bubbling lava-filled bottom. While most of us have no desire to get anywhere near this particular place—located on the Ambryn island archipelago of Vanuatu—we can count ourselves lucky that they took a camera crew with them, because the footage is nothing short of breathtaking.
If you want some idea of just how remote this place is, the team notes that more people have walked on the surface of the Moon than have ventured this deep into this crater. And the result does look like something out of a science fiction movie (this is way better than that scene with Spock in Star Trek Into Darkness). Just take a look at these shots of the roiling lava with one of the team members, miniscule in comparison, hanging out by the edge and try to argue that this doesn’t look like something wholly fictional and alien. It’s like they’re visiting some distant world with a violent ocean of molten rock. Which is some place I have no desire to ever vacation.
And just in case you weren’t terrified or awe-struck enough by Mother Nature, check out this video of a volcanic eruption in Papua New Guinea. You can see the damn shockwave well before it even gets to the boat that is filming the event, and again, this looks like something you would only see on screen in a movie.