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

24 May 2018

"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.

Lava destroyed a building near the plant, bringing the total number of structures overtaken in the past several weeks to almost 50, including dozens of homes.

On Wednesday, molten lava from the volcano had reached within 200 meters of one of Puna's 11 geothermal energy well pads, and burned down a disused building, Haaretz reported.

Hawaii-volcano-Kilauea-eruption-where-is-Kilauea-volcano-on-Big-Island
GETTYThe Hawaii resident tried to tackle the intense heat armed with only a fire extinguisher and hose

On Tuesday, officials finished plugging wells that bring up hot liquid and steam that feed a turbine generator.

A new lava flow from Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano edged towards a geothermal power plant on Tuesday after destroying a warehouse at the facility, after the volcano entered a more violent phase at the weekend. Ormat operates other geothermal power plants in the U.S., Kenya, Guadalupe, Guatemala and Honduras.

Underscoring the eruption's dangers, a Hawaii man was hit by a flying piece of lava over the weekend said the molten rock almost sheared his leg in half.

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He 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 few hundred yards away launched a "lava bomb" his way. It hit him above the ankle. A friend wrapped a sheet around his leg and called for help. Officials are concerned that "laze", a unsafe product produced when hot lava hits cool ocean water, will affect residents.

Clinton was the first person to suffer a major injury because of the eruption. Lava flowing from the volcano recently reached the ocean, causing a risky lava-haze phenomena known as ' laze' that sends acid- and glass-laced steam shooting into the air, creating yet another hazard for those downwind of the lava's ocean entry point.

The latest back-to-back upheavals of ash from the main summit crater of Kilauea - one before dawn and another several hours later - came on the 21st day of what geologists rank as one of the biggest eruption cycles in a century from one of the world's most active volcanoes.

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Workers at the now closed Puna Geothermal Venture, which provided around 25 percent of electricity on Hawaii's Big Island, scrambled to cap the last of three deep wells to reduce the risks of an uncontrolled release of toxic gases should they be inundated by lava.

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