Lava from Hawaii volcano enters ocean from 3 flows

Hannah Rogers
May 26, 2018

About 3 miles to the east of the plant on the coast, noxious clouds of acid fumes, steam and fine glass-like particles billowed into the sky as lava poured into the ocean from two lava flows. Overnight, field crews observed that fissure areas 2, 7, 8 and 3, 14, 21 (between Luana and Kaupili Leilani Estates) reactivated and are spattering.

The occurrence of new lava vents, now numbering about two dozen, have been accompanied by flurries of earthquakes and periodic eruptions of ash, volcanic rock and toxic gases from the volcano's summit crater. The striking aerial footage shows lava flowing indiscriminately across the Hawaiian landscape, swallowing everything in its path as more lava continues to fountain in the background. This is only the second time in his career that he's seen blue flames during an eruption, Kauahikaua said.

People in Hawaii are getting "lava bombed" - with officials reporting at least one injury related to the ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea volcano.

Scientists say the methane can seep through cracks several feet away from the lava.

Kauahikaua said the active fissures stretched for nearly a mile. The latest eruption happened Tuesday, Hawaii County's civil defense agency said, spewing toxic gas.

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Another explosion was reported late Tuesday from the summit, sending ash 9,000 feet into the air. Small ash emissions occur more frequently. Communities southwest of the summit were dusted with ash, said National Weather Service meteorologist John Bravender.

Authorities say that the situation at Puna Geothermal Venture remained stable at last report with no further encroachment reported overnight. And right now, it's all a lava lake. After three weeks of gawking at images of bright red lava bursting skyward, the Big Island's focus has shifted to something blue and worrisome: blue flames that indicate the presence of methane gas. Officials are concerned that "laze", a unsafe product produced when hot lava hits cool ocean water, will affect residents. The methane can also explode when heated.

At Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, eerie blue flames indicate the presence of methane gas.

The sheer force of the lava bomb was what Darryl Clinton remembered feeling first, more powerful than any waves he had ever encountered in the ocean surrounding Hawaii. The fissure complex is visible in the upper center of the image. Citing figures from the United States Geological Survey, he noted that about 40 square miles of the island were buried in fresh lava between 1983 and 2003 alone.

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