Associated PressNews

‘Eerie’ blue flames burn in cracks caused by Hawaii volcano

HONOLULU (AP) — Scientists in Hawaii have captured rare images of blue flames burning from cracks in the pavement as the Kilauea volcano gushes fountains of lava in the background, offering insight into a new dimension in the volcano’s weeks-long eruption.

Volcanos produce methane when hot lava buries and burns plants and trees. The gas flows through the ground and up through existing cracks.

“It’s very dramatic. It’s very eerie,” Jim Kauahikaua, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist, told reporters.

He said it was only the second time he’s ever seen blue flames during an eruption.

The methane can seep through cracks several feet away from the lava. It can also cause explosions when it’s ignited while trapped underground. These blasts can toss blocks several feet away, said Wendy Stovall, also a scientist at the Geological Survey.

Hawaii County has ordered about 2,000 people to evacuate from Leilani Estates and surrounding neighborhoods since the eruption began on May 3.

The volcano has opened more than 20 vents in the ground that have released lava, sulfur dioxide and steam. The lava has been pouring down the flank of the volcano and into the ocean miles away.

The eruption has destroyed 50 buildings, including about two dozen homes. One person was seriously injured after being hit by a flying piece of lava.

Stovall said lava spatter from one vent was forming a wall that was helping protect a nearby geothermal plant.

Lava from that vent was shooting further into the air and producing the highest lava wall of all the vents, which was blocking molten rock from flowing north toward the plant.

Officials shut down Puna Geothermal shortly after the eruption began.

On Tuesday, officials finished stabilizing wells that bring up hot liquid and steam to feed a turbine generator. A team from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and the company continued Wednesday to plug the wells to make sure the fluid inside doesn’t move from one part of the well to the other, said Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for Hawaii County.

Earlier this month officials removed a flammable gas called pentane from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions.

Tourism officials cheered news that a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship that tours the Hawaiian Islands would resume stopping in Kailua-Kona next week. Businesses catering to tourists on the cruise have been hurt since the company suspended Big Island port visits after the eruption began.

The company said it would resume calling on Hilo, a town on the eastern side of the island closer to the lava, when conditions allow.

___

Content Sponsored By:
Alto Landscaping 728×90
May Marketing 728×90
Glennas Pest Control 728×90
Tags
Swoop 728×90
Greenstar Insulation 728×90
Pel-State Leaderboard 728×90
RGM Marketing 728×90
Glennas Pest Control 728×90
Bayou State Roofing 728×90
OneChiro 728×90
LA Home Center 728×90
BizProSBC
RSHV – 728×90 Banner
May Marketing 728×90
Citizen’s National Bank 728×90
Diamond Realty 728×90
Alto Landscaping 728×90

ap_press

The Associated Press (AP) is an American multinational not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City that operates as a cooperative, unincorporated association. The AP is owned by its contributing newspapers and radio and television stations in the United States, all of which contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists. Wikipedia

Related Articles

Loading...
Back to top button
Close
Close