Blue flames in Hawaii lava raises new fears of explosions

Blue flames in Hawaii lava raises new fears of explosions

Blue flames in Hawaii lava raises new fears of explosions

The USGS says, 'When hot lava buries plants and shrubs, methane gas is produced as a byproduct of burning vegetation.

A previous flow encroached on the property this week, and authorities said they've reduced the chances of gas release. Lava entering the ocean was also creating high levels of gas, Hawaii Civil Defense said.

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.

Ten wells at Puna Geothermal were "quenched", which cools them with cold water, and the last was plugged with mud. Blasts could toss rocks several feet.

The burning gas itself is hot, but not risky beyond that.

Kilauea's summit has seenexplosive eruptions since then, sending plumes of ash thousands of feet into the air. Trade winds are blowing the ash to the southwest. Officials are concerned that "laze", a risky product produced when hot lava hits cool ocean water, will affect residents. This channels are now pouring into the ocean at three spots, producing a billowing haze. Mark Strassmann reports from Pahoa.

Although some residents, like Debbie Smith, are opting to stay put, at least for the time being. "The first thing that came to my mind was, are we ever going to be able to go home", said homeowner Shantel Pacarro.

Blue flames in Hawaii lava raises new fears of explosions

One man was seriously injured when a lava bomb hit him on the third-floor balcony of his home, shattering his leg and causing serious burns.

For now, Kilauea seems to have spared a threatened geothermal power plant.

"The experts are telling us there is no danger from the eruptions to anyone outside the areas that have been evacuated", Gov. David Ige said in a statement. "The air quality has been so bad that everybody has been walking around with a (dust) mask".

Lava also is spewing from fissures in the Leilani Estates subdivision, which has been evacuated for three weeks.

Ige notes that the volcanic activity is having "no effects whatsoever" on the five other Hawaiian islands.

From explosively-generated ash plumes at Kilauea's summit to the utterly spectacular lava fountaining taking places on its flanks via one of its dozens of fissures, this corner of Hawaii's Big Island is putting on quite the show. But in communities like Leilani Estates, fountains of nearby lava threaten more homes and there are also spots where officials worry about widening cracks.

"He's kind of accepted it already", Carton says. "We just had to get out of there".

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