Wearing heavy cotton clothing,head protection and a device to help her breathe,Jessica Ball recently spent the night observing lava coming out of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano.
Ball is a researcher with the United States Geological Survey,the agency which studies the country's land and natural resources.
She was at"fissure 8,"one of at least 22 holes that have opened around the Kilauea volcano in the past two months.
Rock from deep inside the volcano is so hot that it has become a liquid.
The liquid,known as lava,began flowing from the openings in early May.
At fissure 8,the lava shot up as high as 45 meters in the air before slowly heading for the Pacific Ocean a few kilometers away.
"The volcano is doing what it wants to,"Ball told the Reuters news service.
"We're reminded what it's like to deal with the force of nature."
Scientists have been in the area of the volcanic activity measuring the eruptions 24 hours a day,seven days a week since Kilauea first exploded.
They are a mix of U.S.Geological Survey experts,University of Hawaii researchers and trained volunteers.
They work six-to-eight-hour periods in teams of two to five.
The intense heat will melt any non-natural clothing materials,so the team members can only wear heavy cotton.
Gloves protect their hands from sharp volcanic rock and glass.
Head coverings protect against falling lava stones,and breathing devices protect against gases,like sulfur,coming from the openings.
Some geologists have died studying active volcanoes.
David Alexander Johnston was a volcano expert with the U.S.Geological Survey.
He was killed by the 1980 eruption of Mount St.Helens in Washington state.
Harry Glicken was another American expert who worked with French researchers Katia and Maurice Krafft.
All three were killed while studying Mount Unzen in Japan.
Jessica Ball completed her studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo,located near the Canadian border.
She compares Kilauea's eruptions to Niagara Falls,which is near her former school.
"It gives you the same feeling of power and force,"she said.
Kilauea has been erupting almost without stopping since 1983.
It is one of the world's most closely observed volcanoes.