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

Hawaii volcano eruption

Reuters Hawaii volcano eruption When lava enters the sea it forms the hazardous toxic gas laze

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 metal cap has been added on top as an additional measure.

Officials shut down Puna Geothermal shortly after Kilauea began erupting on May 3.

The Big Island of Hawaii is still under threat from the Kilauea volcano. 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 the gas from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions. 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.

One potential hazard that appeared to have been brought under control was at the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) plant, which provides about a quarter of the Big Island's electricity.

Scientists, however, say the conditions on Kilauea make it a good site for harnessing the earth for renewable energy. It is responsible for 4.5% of Ormat's total geothermal power production worldwide. Kilauea's summit is now belching 15,000 tons (13,607 metric tons) of the gas each day up from 6,000 tons (5443 metric tons) daily prior to the May 3 eruption.

Kaleikini said the gases that could potentially leak from the Puna plant are no different from those coming from active fissures.

Hawaii volcano eruption
AFP Getty Images Hawaii volcano eruption Laze can be potentially deadly if inhaled

"We are learning things... we are collecting lava samples, samples of each fissure as they have erupted". He is the first person seriously injured by Kilauea volcano's recent eruptive period, which began several weeks ago. That was just incredibly powerful and hot.

When Clinton next looked down - as a nearby friend scrambled to wrap a tourniquet around his leg - all he saw was bone protruding from skin. "I didn't care if they cut my leg off or not", Clinton said, according to KHON. Officials are concerned that "laze", a unsafe product produced when hot lava hits cool ocean water, will affect residents.

These were new risks geologists warned of on Tuesday as Kilauea's 19-day eruption showed no sign of easing, with repeated explosions at its summit and fountains of lava up to 160 feet from giant cracks or fissures on its flank.

Laze occurs when hot lava meets the ocean, sending a plume of hydrochloric acid and steam, along with fine glass particles, into the air. Sulfur dioxide contributes to the volcanic haze known locally as vog, but the tradewinds have been blowing most of that haze out to sea, scientists said.

"I think the biggest worry for us is based on the geologic history of this volcano - is that the current fissure activity could actually become a bit larger", said geologist Steve Brantley from the U.S. Geological Survey.

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