Hawaii volcano generates blue flames from burning methane

Deadly lava is tearing through Hawaii as the Kilauea volcano's violent eruption continues — here are the latest images

Kilauea rumbled back to life on May 3 as it began extruding lava and sulphur dioxide emissions through a series of fissures, marking the latest phase of an eruption cycle that has continued almost non-stop for 35 years. There also were plans to install metal plugs in the wells as an additional stopgap measure.

Puna supplies 25% of the Big Island's power, and had been built smack in the rift zone of Kilauea.

At least 47 homes and other structures have been destroyed in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens area of the Puna district, and a man was seriously injured on Saturday by flying lava.

The Big Island of Hawaii is still under threat from the Kilauea volcano. That steam is then directed into a turbine generator that produces electricity, according to Hawaiian Electric. A flammable gas called pentane is used as part of the process, though officials earlier this month removed 50,000 gallons (190,000 liters) of it from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions. Pele, the goddess of fire, is believed to live on Kilauea, and the plant is thought by certain elements to desecrate her name, the Associated Press reports. Some lava, however, menaced a geothermal plant.

Scientists, however, say the conditions on Kilauea make it a good site for harnessing the earth for renewable energy.

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

Although most of the lava from those fissures is headed downhill toward the sea, some of the spatter from the fountains is filling elevated lava ponds that are leaking lava that has been slowly advancing on the PGV property.

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

"It was incredible. It was just the event of a lifetime", Clinton said.

Living on the slopes of one of the world's most active volcanoes meant it was hardly their first brush with lava, Clinton would later say.

"It hit and it set me on fire and it basically snapped my leg in half about right above the ankle", Clinton said as if he were discussing the weather.

U.S. Geological Survey scientist Wendy Stovall said Wednesday that lava erupting from a vent closest to Puna Geothermal Venture is shooting higher than lava coming out of other vents.

No major injuries have been reported from lava haze.

About 3 miles (4.8 km) 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 flows. There has been continuous low-level ash emission from Kilauea's summit with larger explosions every few hours, said U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Mike Poland.

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