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    SIKIDANG CRATER, Central Java

    Sikidang Crater gives another nuance on Dieng’s natural beauty. Fresh green landscape suddenly vanished as YogYES entered this crater complex. As far as the eye could see, there was just a barren stretch of land surrounded by hills with a smoky pond on the other side. A few meters from the entrance there is a warning sign for you to be careful in moving, as well as a fire ban and throwing cigarette butts.

    Walking in this crater must be very careful. YogYES had to jump around and look for dry ground to put a step. Crater holes were everywhere. In some places the ground looked wet with bubbling water. These lands are dangerous to be stepped on because it’s very fragile and prone to landslides. The smell of sulfur was getting stronger. The farther we walked, the smell got even stronger. A middle-aged woman was standing in the middle of the barren desert, wearing a traditional hat and covered her nose. There was a lying sack in front of her with brimstone on top of it. She was going to sell the stones to the visitors as souvenirs from Sikidang Crater. Yes, this crater is still a heaven for the residents who make a living on brimstone mining. Despite the strong odor, the steam contains sulfur that is believed to smooth the skin and eliminate acne.

    Sikidang crater lay at the end of this complex. A large pool of water mixed with gray mud kept bubbling. We were not able to see another side of the pool because of the thickness of puffy white smoke. It is said that the water and mud has a temperature of 98 degrees Celsius, and maybe even more. Bamboo fence was built around the crater for the safety of visitors. Nevertheless there were violations of this safety limit. There used to be a visitor who dared to take pictures at the crater’s edge, he stuck his leg and fell. When he lifted his leg, the skin had melted and only the bone left. This place is unique and exciting, but you must always be very careful as the crater is still quite active.

    There is a magma chamber beneath Sikidang Crater. This magma chamber produced heat and energy with a very strong pressure. If this pressure reaches its peak, there will be eruptions and formed a new crater. Sikidang name is taken from the word "kidang" a Javanese word means deer. The uniqueness of this crater is the main crater is always on the move, as if it’s jumping to find a new place. A big hole right in front of the complex is the former main crater before it got "bored" and jumped to move to another place. If you’re lucky, you can also see some sulfur miners busy looking for chunks of sulfur. If you want to experience standing on a pot of magma of the earth, Sikidang Crater is the place. But remember, be careful in moving and do not light a fire. Good luck!

    source: dieng.yogyes.com

    photo by: adrisigners

    Last edited by trackshadow; 17-12-2012 at 11:00.

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