Hawaii volcano overwhelms neighborhood with river of molten misery

24 May, 2018, 09:57 | Author: Julian Swanson
  • Hawaii volcano eruption Kilauea explosion

A lava fountain erupts at night along a recent lava flow from a Kilauea volcano fissure on Hawaii's Big Island, May 22, 2018, in Kapoho, Hawaii.

"We're providing actionable scientific products to teams on the ground to support response activities and fill any gaps they may have in their information as the disaster is evolving", Struve said.

"Fissures near Puna Geothermal Venture are active and producing lava slowly flowing onto the property", Civil Defense said in a statement.

The Puna power plant supplies 25 percent of the island's electricity, the daily business website Calcalist reported. The building was owned by the state of Hawaii, and was used in geothermal research projects in the early days of the site.

Kilauea rumbled back to life on May 3 as it began extruding lava and sulfur dioxide emissions through a series of fissures, marking the latest phase of an eruption cycle that has continued almost nonstop for 35 years. A flammable gas called pentane is used as part of the process, though officials earlier this month removed 50,000 gallons (190,000 liters) of it from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions.

At least 47 homes and other structures have been destroyed by almost two dozen fissures in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens, and a man was seriously injured on Saturday by flying lava. Pele, the goddess of fire, is believed to live on Kilauea, and the plant is thought by certain elements to desecrate her name, the Associated Press reports. Some lava, however, menaced a geothermal plant. It is responsible for 4.5% of Ormat's total geothermal power production worldwide.

Hawaii volcano eruption Kilauea explosion ash
UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEYHawaii volcano eruption The USGS reported an explosion at the summit around 10pm local time

Scientists say the methane can seep through cracks several feet away from the lava.

Kilauea's summit is now belching 15,000 tons (13,607 metric tons) of the gas each day, up from 6,000 tons (5,443 metric tons) daily prior to the May 3 eruption. It has since opened more than 20 vents releasing lava, sulfur dioxide and steam.

Underscoring the eruption's dangers, a Hawaii man was hit by a flying piece of lava over the weekend said the molten rock almost sheared his leg in half.

Residents have been concerned about hazards if lava flowed over the plant's facilities or if the molten rock heated chemicals at the plant.

But Kilauea's activity ratcheted up considerably on May 3 after an quake rattled the region; lava began spilling from newly created fissures and spreading through neighborhoods, turning parts of the Big Island into disaster zones.

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