Staring into an active volcano full of bubbling lava is one of those things that sounds enticing, but is probably better to witness from afar. A boiling pool of molten rock is surely majestic in real life, but I’m not sure how much I can withstand the pungent scent of sulfur.
So now, thanks to the Google Street View team, you can virtually explore the lava lake in Ambryn, Vanuatu — an island in a remote part of the South Pacific Ocean. Google sent a pair of explorers to capture 360-degree images in the crater, letting you get so close, you can almost smell the volcanic gases (or at least, see it fume up from the lava).
"Standing at the edge and feeling the heat lick your skin is phenomenal," team member Chris Horsley told Google. "I hope that by putting this place on the map people will realize what a beautiful world we live in." The crater is approximately the size of two football fields, according to Google.
The Google Street View expedition is one of a few recent attempts by tech companies to use technology to study and observe volcanoes. Last summer, GE sent explorers down into the Masaya volcano in Nicaragua to apply sensors that’ll help scientists predict when it may erupt next.
Check out the Street View of the Vanuatu lava lake here.