Google Maps is inviting users to explore the inside of an active volcano – from the comfort of their own home.
Using Google’s Trekker cameras, two explorers, Geoff Mackley and Chris Horsly, have rappelled 400 metres down into Vanuatu’s Marum volcano.
Vanuatu is an island archipelago nation in the Pacific Ocean, roughly 1750km from Australia. It’s known for its volcanic activity, and the two explorers have brought the island of Ambrym to Google’s Street View.
In recent years, the island chain has been the victim of vicious cyclones, and this project will go far to getting it back on the map – pun not intended.
Users can find the island on Google Maps, and then zoom in to Street View-level within one of its two volcanic cones.
The 360-degree camera has captured the boiling lava lake within the Marum Crater in all its glory, as well as the desolate yet beautiful surroundings.
“Standing at the edge and feeling the heat lick your skin is phenomenal,” says Horsly. “I hope that by putting this place on the map people will realize what a beautiful world we live in.”
Speaking to Google, Chief Moses in the local village of Endu says that inhabitants believe the volcanoes are devils that can be provoked at any time.
“We believe that Benbo is the husband and Marum is the wife,” he says. “Sometimes when they don’t agree there’s an eruption which means the spirit is angry so we sacrifice a pig or fowl to the volcano”.
Mackly and Horsly have also ‘trekked’ through Chief Moses’ village, offering Maps users a unique first-person insight into life on Marum.