Hawaii's Erupting Kilauea Volcano Is Now Spouting Blue Flames of Burning Methane

26 May, 2018, 07:36 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Creeping Lava Now Threatens Major Hawaiian Power Plant

Nighttime photos released by the US Geological Survey were taken in the Leilani Estates neighbourhood where the volcano has been sending up lava through vents in the ground. The phenomenon occurs when lava covers up vegetation and burns it, and methane is produced as a byproduct, the USGS also said.

"This hot, corrosive gas mixture caused two deaths immediately adjacent to the coastal entry point in 2000, when seawater washed across recent and active lava flows".

The plant has been closed since shortly after lava began erupting on May 3 through newly opened fissures in the ground running through neighborhoods and roads on the far eastern flank of Kilauea.

The observatory said in a release that the volcano's fissures were actively expelling lava during the period in which the time-lapse footage was shot. At least 50 buildings have been destroyed since the fissures began to open three weeks ago. One person was seriously injured after being hit by a flying piece of lava. There has been continuous low-level ash emission from Kilauea's summit with larger explosions every few hours, said U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Mike Poland. This video shows activity from fissure 5 in the Leilani Estates subdivision on May 23.

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Residents "should be prepared to leave the area with little notice due to gas or lava inundation", Hawaii County's civil defense agency said. Scientists say it can trigger explosions if ignited while trapped underground.

Hinkle and countless other residents on Hawaii's Big Island are fighting the toxic effects of sulfur dioxide, which is still spewing from cracks in the Earth's surface after the eruption on May 3.

The Marine Corps said on Thursday (Friday NZ time) that it's sent two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters from a base near Honolulu to help. Blasts could toss rocks several feet.

Earlier this month officials removed a flammable gas called pentane from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions.

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The lava is still "moving very vigorously", keeping Big Island residents on alert and away from the ocean.

Roach told CNN she believes the intense heat of the lava bomb actually cauterized the wound, preventing it from bleeding more than it did. That steam is then directed into a turbine generator that produces electricity, according to Hawaiian Electric. But in communities like Leilani Estates, fountains of nearby lava threaten more homes and there are also spots where officials worry about widening cracks.

Tourism officials cheered news that a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship that tours the Hawaiian Islands would resume stopping in Kailua-Kona next week.

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