Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Kilauea volcano: Two US military helicopters sent to Hawaii as evacuation backup

Creeping Lava Now Threatens Major Hawaiian Power Plant Lava flow closes in on Hawaii power plant
| 26 May, 2018, 07:38

Other flare-ups from the volcano were more formidable, as blue flames burned from cracks in the pavement on Wednesday.

Early Wednesday morning, officials from the U.S. Geological Survey spotted blue flames rising from cracks in a country road in Leilani Estates, near where lava is spewing from the Kīlauea volcano's lower east rift zone. The phenomenon occurs when lava covers up vegetation and burns it, and methane is produced as a byproduct, the USGS also said.

When methane is heated, it can seep into voids below the surface - in this case, the cracks on Kahukai Street in the residential area of Leilani Estates.

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.

Stovall said the volcano is belching 15,000 tons of sulfur dioxide each day from ground vents that have formed since May 3.

Lava destroyed a building near the plant, bringing the total number of structures overtaken in the past several weeks to almost 50, including dozens of homes.

A man hit by a "lava bomb" during eruptions says he's lucky to be alive.

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


That suggests it is possible new fissures could open west of Leilani that would cut Highway 130, leaving a large area from MacKenzie State Recreation Area to Kalapana without a ground evacuation route.

Plumes of steam rise as lava enters the ocean near Pahoa, Hawaii.

Kauahikaua said this is the second time he has seen the blue flames. Blasts can toss rocks several feet.

Officials shut down Puna Geothermal shortly after the eruption began.

Kilauea's latest eruptive episode has upended life on parts of the Big Island since April 30, when the floor of the Puu Oo Crater, on the volcano's East Rift Zone, collapsed and sent its pool of lava back underground. One of the helicopters is already on Hawaii island, and the other is expected to arrive today, she said.

On Tuesday, officials finished stabilizing wells that bring up hot liquid and steam to feed a turbine generator. Residents have been concerned about hazards if the lava flowed over the plant's facilities, or if heat generated would interact with various chemicals used on-site.

According to reports, both Norwegian Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean have canceled stops at Hilo, the Big Island's port, so tourists can't "come seek" adventure there, even if they wanted to.

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