Lava flow enters Hawaii geothermal plant property

Infrared images reveal damage on Hawaii's Big Island

Infrared images reveal damage on Hawaii's Big Island

With an active volcanic fissure in the background, the lava flow from the Kilauea eruption is seen from the kitchen window of a home on Nohea Street in the Leilani Estates near Pahoa, Hawaii, on Sunday.

In addition, two of the wells at the geothermal plant were overtaken by lava, but there were no emissions of hydrogen sulfide.

About 2,200 acres has been covered in lava since the Kilauea volcano eruptions began May 3, Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said.

Because the lava was spread out over a wide area, the frontier of the flow was only moving at about three feet per second, Carolyn Parcheta, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, said in a video message posted online. Lava fountains in the lower east rift zone are flowing up to 150 feet high, according to the USGS.

In addition to vigorous eruptions, authorities are concerned about worsening ground cracking, air quality issues, ashfall in communities downwind of Kilauea's summit, and lava threatening key thoroughfares, something that could spur additional evacuations. Vog is a haze created when sulfur dioxide gas and other volcanic pollutants settle with moisture and dust.

The police may have to resort to air evacuations in case the lava traps more residential area.

"The flow from fissures 21 and 7 was widening and advancing", Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for the County of Hawaii, said on the position of lava heading northeast towards PGV.

As of Friday, the oozing lava had destroyed 82 structures on the Big Island.

The Hawaii Civil Defense Agency said all the wells remained "stable and secure" in a statement released Sunday night.

Geothermal wells often release small amounts of toxic hydrogen sulfide during normal operations, usually well below emissions limits set by local governments, but lava could destabilize a well and release more, the analysis said.

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