While many nearby residents have been evacuated, volcanic scientists stay behind to study the aftermath of the eruptions, including researchers from the University of Iceland’s Institute of Earth Sciences, who were able to get incredibly close to the lava thanks to heavy equipment that includes fire-resistant flight suits, helmets and face masks.
Tim Orr, the head Geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, described the laden perils of the job to Tested. “You have to do it very quickly,” Orr said. “I don’t take my time. If you’re close enough the radiant heat from the lava will burn your bare skin if it’s exposed so we wear gloves, leather boots, a face mask, and sunglasses.”