Hawaii volcano produces blue flames from methane

Hawaii volcano produces blue flames from methane

Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, shows no sign of quieting down.

"The ash has just been non-stop every day since the summit has been erupting", said Tiahti Fernandez, 24, as she sat in a auto parked outside her father-in-law's home in the tiny farming village of Pahala, 26 miles (42 km) southwest of the summit crater.

Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder said a warehouse adjacent to the Puna plant was hit by the molten lava yesterday.

A fine layer of brownish-gray ash coated vehicles and other surfaces, and an ash plume rising from the volcano summit was visible in the distance through the hazy air.

Lava flowing from Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has claimed another structure, this one close to a geothermal plant.

Stovall said lava spatter from one of the vents was forming a wall that was helping protect a nearby geothermal plant.

Ten wells were "quenched", which cools them with cold water, and the last was plugged with mud. The civil defence agency reported on Wednesday, "there is no immediate threat to any of the wells at PGV".

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The gas "can seep into subsurface voids and explode when heated" or "emerge from cracks in the ground several feet away". Officials are concerned that "laze", a risky product produced when hot lava hits cool ocean water, will affect residents.

The latest explosive eruption yesterday at 9.59pm local time sent plumes of smoke nearly 9,000 feet into the air.

Hawaii County has ordered about 2,000 people to evacuate from Leilani Estates and surrounding neighborhoods since the eruption began on May 3.

The eruption has so far destroyed 50 buildings, including about two dozen homes.

A Hawaii island man injured by what officials called a lava bomb spoke from his hospital bed Tuesday.

"The methane gas will flow through the ground, through the cracks that are already existing, and will come up wherever there's a place for them to come up", said Wendy Stovall, a scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey. The Hawaii National Guard has warned of more mandatory evacuations if more highways are blocked.

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