• Czech photographer Karel Tupy visited Ethiopia’s Erta Ale, the world’s oldest continuously active lava lake
  • He tells of the overwhelming heat of the lava as he captured daunting scenes of the 150-ft wide basalt volcano
  • Erta Ale means ‘smoking mountain’ in the local Afar language while the pit to its south is ‘The Gateway to Hell’
  • In 2012, five people from a group of scientists and tourists were killed in an attack by a local rebel group  

If we must imagine the fiery depths of hell, the mental image can’t be far from these incredible images by Karel Tupy of Ethiopia’s Erta Ale, the world’s oldest continuously active lava lake.

Photographer Tupy, 35, says he feared his camera would melt from the overwhelming heat of the lava as he captured the daunting scenes of the 150-ft wide basalt volcano.

‘The view is simply staggering,’ said the 35-year-old. ‘Lava inside the volcano is constantly moving, bubbling and bursting.’

Mental images of the fiery depths of hell can't be far from these very real photographs of Ethiopia's Erta Ale

Mental images of the fiery depths of hell can’t be far from these very real photographs of Ethiopia’s Erta Ale

These incredible images by Czech photographer Karel Tupy capture the world's oldest continuously active lava lake

These incredible images by Czech photographer Karel Tupy capture the world’s oldest continuously active lava lake

Lava sprays from the centre of the lake, a rare phenomenon said to be one of just six in the world

Lava sprays from the centre of the lake, a rare phenomenon said to be one of just six in the world

Dramatic cracks form and lava sprays out of the volcano in north-eastern Ethiopia

Lava illuminates and a haze forms above in this shot by the adventurous 35-year-old

Lava illuminates, peeks through cracks and spits (left) and a haze forms above the blazing hot pool in shot by the adventurous 35-year-old

‘The heat was immense, when I got to an edge of the crater, it was unbearable. After couple of seconds, my facial skin was so hot, I had to get away.

‘There was even a point where I was afraid my camera was going to melt.’

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