Lava flow closes in on Hawaii power plant

Pic Reuters

Pic Reuters

Blue flames from burning methane are the latest natural phenomena being seen at the eruption of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.

Photos published on Wednesday by the US Geological Survey show the flames spouting from cracks in the pavement in the Leilani Estates neighbourhood, which has been worst affected by the surges of lava.

A blue burning flame of methane gas was observed in the cracks on Kahukai Street during the overnight hours.

Lava flowing from the volcano recently reached the ocean, causing a unsafe 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.

At the Friend family's home, huge cracks have opened in the ground, stretching across a road and up to and beneath the one-story house.

Hinkle, 46, said she's financially stressed but can't leave now. Laze plumes travel with the wind and can shift directions without warning, the county civil defence agency said.

Despite the seemingly steady stream of hazards, officials in a state that relies heavily on tourism are reiterating a message: "Travel is safe to the Hawaiian islands".

Lava from Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano lit up the night on Tuesday (May 22), in a video released by the Hawaii Army National Guard.

Kilauea began erupting lava in a residential neighborhood on May 3.

Authorities say that the situation at Puna Geothermal Venture remained stable at last report with no further encroachment reported overnight. More than two dozen homes have been destroyed by lava, officials have said. The plant provides 25 percent of the electricity to the Big Island. Workers stabilized 11 wells to prevent the release of uncontrolled toxic gases.

Geothermal energy is also considered a clean resource as it doesn't generate greenhouse gas emissions, said Bridget Ayling, the director of Nevada's Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy.

"One of the first things emergency responders wanted to know was where the lava was coming out, where are all the fissures", said J.

Another explosion was reported late Tuesday from the summit, sending ash 9,000 feet into the air.

Intermittent explosions of ash from the summit, believed to be driven by underground bursts of steam deep inside the throat of the crater vent, are occurring about twice a day, with smaller blasts in between, US Geological Survey (USGS) vulcanologist Wendy Stovall told reporters.

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