July 2, 2010 -- Last month, British volcano photographer and Discovery News guest blogger Richard Roscoe ventured to the southern Pacific Island state of Vanuatu to get spectacular images of Yasur volcano, just as it was starting to boil over. The following is his account of photographing its eruption while dodging red-hot lava bombs, ash clouds, and volcanic lightning:
At times, dense ash clouds could be seen billowing out of one or both of the volcano's two adjoining craters. Some eruptions were accompanied by an earsplitting series of shock waves, and volcanic bombs were frequently hurled out of the crater onto the nearby rim and flanks of the volcano (below).
In one case a large bomb was ejected at least 500 meters (over 1,600 feet) high and impacted the rim only 5 meters (16 feet) away from me. It is always important to scan the sky for bombs during powerful eruptions and the bomb was spotted long before it landed (below), allowing evasive action.
On another occasion a dense hail of volcanic bombs from the dangerous northern crater impacted the rim only a short distance away. Most of the bombs weighed many pounds, and the obligatory helmet would have provided little protection from these.