Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano nears power plant
23 May, 2018, 20:49 | Author: Martin Tyler
Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and one of five on the Big Island of Hawaii.
There have been two new small explosive eruptions at the summit of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island.
A reactivated fissure from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano threatened the Big Island's geothermal plant with a new lava flow Tuesday, which could trigger the release of toxic gases if it reaches wells at the plant, Hawaii officials said. Since May 3, over a dozen fissures have opened up along the east rift zone of the Kilauea volcano, destroying almost 50 structures.
Experts fear toxic gas could be released should the lava reach wells outside the plant.
The fissure complex remains active in Kilauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone, Hawaii, May 22, 2018.This is a developing story.
If the molten lava compromises a well, .
Darryl Clinton told the Honolulu television station KHON that he was on the roof of a home helping to put out fires from flying rocks when an explosion a couple hundred yards away launched a "lava bomb" his way.
Since then, the summit of Kilauea has erupted periodically with no warning.
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The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said there appears to be no immediate threat as of Tuesday afternoon. The plant harnesses heat and steam from the earth's core to spin turbines to generate power.
As a precaution, flammable chemicals were removed from the plant and the wells were filled with cold water.
"County, state, and federal partners have been collaborating closely to monitor the situation and work with PGV to ensure the safety of the surrounding communities", said Hawaii County Civil Defence (HCCD) in a statement, adding that "Efforts are ongoing to make sure the site is secure and the community is kept safe".
Hawaii County Civil Defense officials said if lava interacts with the wells, it could release risky hydrogen sulfide gas.
After quenching and plugging, the wells "are stable at this point", Hawaii Governor David Ige said, according to the Associated Press. Travis said workers might also try to plug the wells, perhaps by filling them with mud and capping them with iron plugs.
When fiery lava hits water, it produces acid fumes, a phenomenon called "laze" - a word in English formed from the terms "lava" and "haze".
Since Kilauea's massive eruption, rivers of fire have swallowed at least 40 structures, hurled lava through cracks in the earth's surface and devastated livelihoods.
It's just the latest hazard from a weeks-old eruption that has so far generated earthquakes and featured gushing molten rock, giant ash plumes and sulfur dioxide.
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Geologists say that the Kilauea explosion is significant and especially unsafe because both the summit and a series of fissures on its side are exploding simultaneously. "It's not like this show is going to end tomorrow".
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