The black cone looms out of the sapphire waters of the Sunda Strait, its base ringed by a circle of green trees and foliage that manage to thrive on the rich soil despite intermittent eruptions. Though only around 500 meters high, no one among a group of recent visitors is underestimating this volcano's potentially lethal temper. The reek of sulfur from escaping gases is heavy in the air, and boulders the size of cars are littered about its gravelly slopes, evidence of past detonations. Cahya, an Indonesian government geologist visiting the island to help install monitoring gear, warns against a climb...

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