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An up-close experience with a volcano from the safety of your computer.

Let Google Street View take you into an active volcano

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Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Sunday, March 19, 2017, 7:15 PM - Google Street View is a great way to wander the neighbourhood without having to go through the fuss and bother of actually leaving your house, but they do occasionally take you to far-flung locations most people would never be able to visit.

The icy landscapes of Greenland were a fun recent addition, while closer to home, Nova Scotia's Sable Island got the Street View treatment, while in Canada's far north, surveyors used snowmobiles as their vehicle of choice to mount their 360-degree camera.

Now, Street View's latest adventure goes into the Earth itself, right down to the lip of the bubbling lava lake of an active volcano.

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It's within one of two active cones, Benbow and Marim, on the island of Ambrym, one of 80 islands that make up the Pacific country of Vanuatu. 

To get the shots, Street View joined forces with explorers Geoff Mackley and Chris Horsley, who rapelled 400 m into the crater, one of the largest lava lakes in the world. If you angle the camera just right, you can occasionally catch glimpses of the pair's equipment, and there are several different vantage points to choose from, including some shot part-way down the cone while they were descending to the lake.

"Standing at the edge and feeling the heat lick your skin is phenomenal," said Horsley said in a write-up on the project on Google's blog. "I hope that by putting this place on the map people will realize what a beautiful world we live in."

The island is home to some 7,000 people, some of whom live in the village of Endu, which also got the Street View treatment. Its chief, identified in the blog as Moses, says opening the area up to outsiders is part of the region's recovery efforts following 2015's Cyclone Pam.

"We believe that the volcanoes Marum and Benbow are devils. If you go up to a volcano you have to be very careful because the two volcanoes could get angry at any time," Moses told the Street View team. "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 [fowl] to the volcano."

Explorer George Kourounis descended into the same crater in 2014. Here's what he saw: 

SOURCE: Google Blog

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