SAN FRANCISCO, March 17 — In line with the growing popularity of volcano tourism, Google Street View has gone into the bowels of the earth to capture images of what locals in Vanuatu call a hot-headed husband and wife pair with a tendency to erupt in public spats.
For the mission, Google Maps dispatched explorers Geoff Mackley and Chris Horsley to repel 400 metres into the belly of the Marum volcano on Ambrym island, and collect 360-degree imagery of the molten lava lake which spans the size of two football fields.
“Standing at the edge and feeling the heat lick your skin is phenomenal,” said Chris Horsley after returning from his descent into the crater.
“I hope that by putting this place on the map people will realise what a beautiful world we live in.”
Vanuatu is located about 1,600 km off the coast of Australia and is made up of 80 islands and nine active volcanoes.
On Ambrym, locals believe that volcanoes Benbow and Marum are a pair of husband and wife devils, with hot tempers.
“If you go up to a volcano you have to be very careful because the two volcanoes could get angry at any time,” said Chief Moses of the local village of Endu.
“We believe that Benbo is the husband and Marum is the wife. Sometimes when they don’t agree there’s an eruption which means the spirit is angry so we sacrifice a pig or fawel to the volcano.”
Ambrym is home to 7,000 people who live mostly in the rainforest down the mountain.
Virtual visitors can also take a stroll through Endu Village, which has been rebuilding its infrastructure after being hit by a cyclone a few years ago.
Added Mackley: “You only realise how insignificant humans are when you’re standing next to a giant lake of fiery boiling rock.” — AFP-Relaxnews