Stepping through the gates of hell: daring geologist takes brave step for science into fire-breathing volcano

Most people wouldn’t even dream of going near an active volcano – well meet the man who goes INTO them, all in the name of science.

Italian geologist Francesco Pandolfo had travelled to Africa to study the volcanic activity on Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo when he decided to get a closer look.

Francesco Pandolfo travelled to Africa to study the volcanic activity on Mount Nyiragongo

Francesco Pandolfo travelled to Africa to study the volcanic activity on Mount Nyiragongo

He decided to abseil much closer to the smouldering lava than many would dare to go and was able to capture these stunning photographs of what a raging volcano really looks like.

Francesco said his love for the mountains made the decision to take a closer look at the volcano an easy one.

Francesco said his love for the mountains made the decision to take a closer look at the volcano an easy one

Francesco said his love for the mountains made the decision to take a closer look at the volcano an easy one

He said: “For me it was an absolutely amazing experience and it wasn’t as hot as you might think.

“Believe it or not, the original sensation was that it was quite cold but it soon got a lot hotter!

“When I was on the rope heading down into the crater the feeling was very strange but at the same time it was absolutely incredible.”

He decided to abseil much closer to the smouldering lava than many would dare to go

He decided to abseil much closer to the smouldering lava than many would dare to go

Francesco had been in Africa conducting research in order to better understand the volcano, which last erupted in 2002.

He said: “It really was one of the best things you can see, a volcano in full flow.

“I have always been in love with the mountains so I think this is my true calling.”

He said: "For me it was an absolutely amazing experience and it wasn't as hot as you might think."

He said: “For me it was an absolutely amazing experience and it wasn’t as hot as you might think.”