Well, is this the gateway to Hell? A very daredevil photographer travels to the edge of 150-feet wide active lava lake named after Satan’s kingdom. If we must imagine the fiery depths of hell, the mental image can’t be far from these incredible images by Karel Tupy of Ethiopia’s Erta Ale, the world’s oldest continuously active lava lake. The 35 years old photographer “Tupy” says; he was frightening about his camera may would have melt from the scorching heat of the lava as he captured the intimidating scenes of the 150-feet wide basalt volcano. Without any doubt the view is simply staggering as lava inside the volcano is constantly moving, bubbling and bursting. There was immense heat and when I got to an edge of the crater, it was unbearable. After couple of seconds, my facial skin was so hot, I had to get away. Although there was a point where I was afraid my camera was going to melt. Lava Lakes can be found in the badland desert area of the Afar Depression in north-eastern Ethiopia, Erta Ale’s famed lava lake formed around 1906 and is one of six in the world. The volcano’s name translates in the local Afar tribe’s language as “smoking mountain” though the pit to its south is recognized by locals as “The Gateway to Hell”, an appropriate moniker given the luminous lava spitting lava and searing heat. Though locals aren’t particularly welcoming to outsiders and the surrounding terrain is far from hospitable, travelers do make the journey to witness this real natural phenomenon.

In 2009, BBC TV show The Hottest Place on Earth went there to record a world first 3D laser image of the volcano. Like a true journey to the center of the Earth, volcanoes offer an exclusive window into planet’s interior. Standing at the lip of the lava lake you can see why the locals see this as “The Gateway to Hell”, as the incandescent bubbling lava lake hisses like some badly burned porridge cauldron, overturning and sporadically belching molten lava. Having gained his own access to the area, in which five people in a group of scientists and tourists were killed while others were taken as hostages in a 2012 attack claimed by the Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF), Tupy couldn’t agree more with Dr Jerram’s impression.

However the lava is almost 25 feet below the edge, sometimes during a burst the lake spits the lava outside the crater, so you’ve to be very careful not to get hit by it. What you get hit by quite often though is fumes. Whereas is very necessary to avoid contact with lava, apparently, it’s the fumes that can be the worry. Though, the environment gets far worse that what he experienced. In September 2005 an eruption killed more than 250 head of livestock and forced locals in the surrounding area to flee. There were more evacuations in August 2007 caused by lava flow, after which two people went missing. The last eruption came in November 2008. This place is something you don’t see every day. As a photographer, I get to see astonishing places and when you see that people like those photos. This is kind of a reward in itself.Source: Dailymail

A far less dramatic sight, the lava forms a hard, grey layer when it is given the chance to cool

A far less dramatic sight, the lava forms a hard, grey layer when it is given the chance to cool

A visitor mounts his camera on a tripod in a bit to capture the volcano in its full glory while a small group of tourists line the other side

A visitor mounts his camera on a tripod in a bit to capture the volcano in its full glory while a small group of tourists line the other side

Erta Ale's name translates as 'smoking mountain' in the local Afar language while the pit to its south is called 'The Gateway to Hell'

Erta Ale’s name translates as ‘smoking mountain’ in the local Afar language while the pit to its south is called ‘The Gateway to Hell’

Karel Tupy said the view is 'staggering', as lava inside the volcano is constantly moving, bubbling and bursting

Karel Tupy said the view is ‘staggering’, as lava inside the volcano is constantly moving, bubbling and bursting

Lava sprays from the centre of the lake, a rare phenomenon said to be one of just six in the world

Lava sprays from the centre of the lake, a rare phenomenon said to be one of just six in the world

Mental images of the fiery depths of hell can't be far from these very real photographs of Ethiopia's Erta Ale

Mental images of the fiery depths of hell can’t be far from these very real photographs of Ethiopia’s Erta Ale

Poor road access means the only way to efficiently get to the crater is via four-wheel-drive over rugged terrain

Poor road access means the only way to efficiently get to the crater is via four-wheel-drive over rugged terrain

The ferocity of the volcano is clear as lava splashes up from a pool that is said to have formed around 1906

The ferocity of the volcano is clear as lava splashes up from a pool that is said to have formed around 1906

The photographer says while it's vital to avoid contact with lava, obviously, it's the fumes that can be the worry

The photographer says while it’s vital to avoid contact with lava, obviously, it’s the fumes that can be the worry

These incredible images by Czech photographer Karel Tupy capture the world's oldest continuously active lava lake

These incredible images by Czech photographer Karel Tupy capture the world’s oldest continuously active lava lake

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