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Hawaii's Kilauea volcano: Power plant wells plugged, blue flames in suburban street

24 May 2018

Intermittent explosions of ash from the summit, believed to be driven by underground bursts of steam deep inside the throat of the crater vent, are occurring about twice a day, with smaller blasts in between, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) vulcanologist Wendy Stovall told reporters. "The air quality has been so bad that everybody has been walking around with a (dust) mask".

The nearby Gemini Observatory in Hilo, Hawaii, captured a time-lapse glimpse at Kilauea from Monday night into Tuesday morning as the light from the volcano and its almost two-dozen fissures beamed through the clouds.

On Wednesday, Hawaii Governor David Ige said that while officials are continuing to monitor gases leaking from the power plant, "all wells are stable at this point".

Lava from Fissue 22 of Kilauea approaches Ormat's geothermal power station Puna                  \ HANDOUT REUTERS
Lava from Fissue 22 of Kilauea approaches Ormat's geothermal power station Puna \ HANDOUT REUTERS

Volcanologist Mike Burton, at Manchester University, has warned about the dangers of gas that could be emitted now the lava has reached the Pacific Ocean.

On Monday, lava entered and then stalled on the property of a geothermal plant near one of Kilauea's new volcanic vents.

Ten wells at Puna Geothermal were "quenched", which cools them with cold water, and the last was plugged with mud.

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Clinton says he was on the roof of a home, helping to put out fires caused by flying rocks, when an explosion a couple hundred yards away launched a lava bomb that hit him above the ankle.

Puna Geothermal, owned by Nevada's Ormat Technologies, was shut down earlier this month shortly after Kilauea began spewing lava on May 3.

The latest explosive eruption yesterday at 9.59pm local time sent plumes of smoke nearly 9,000 feet into the air. Laze, a word combination of lava and haze, contains hydrochloric acid steam along with volcanic glass particles.

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A Hawaii island man injured by what officials called a lava bomb spoke from his hospital bed Tuesday.

This gas flows through the ground and up through existing cracks, posing an extreme danger to anyone standing nearby. Civil defence officials said contingency plans for further evacuations were being prepared with National Guard officials in case they become necessary.

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Hawaii's Kilauea volcano: Power plant wells plugged, blue flames in suburban street