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Energy wells plugged as Hawaii lava flows nearby

24 May 2018
Energy wells plugged as Hawaii lava flows nearby

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

The Puna district's geothermal plant has been closed since shortly after lava began erupting on May 3 through newly opened fissures in the ground running through neighborhoods and roads in an area near the community of Pahoa.

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.

Authorities on Tuesday finished capping production wells at the Puna Geothermal Venture plant as lava from Kilauea Volcano encroached on the facility. Earlier this month, officials removed 50,000 gallons (190,000 liters) of the gas from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions. Goddess of fire, Pele, is believed to live on Kilauea volcano, and the plant itself is thought to desecrate her name.

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

There have been two new small explosive eruptions at the summit of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island.

By comparison, the summit produced an average of 3,000 to 6,000 tons of sulfur dioxide per day when there was a lava lake in the caldera, while Puu Oo normally produced 200 to 300 tons.

When you think of the ways a volcanic eruption can hurt or kill, you probably imagine gooey lava streams, steaming fissures and crumbling ash columns that could turn a whole city into statues. According to CNN, the chunk of hardened lava shot like a rocket from a fissure roughly 100 yards (91 meters) away from Clinton, set his porch on fire and sliced his leg to the bone. "The sounds, the sites, the flowing lava, the aa, the fissures, it was all happening at one time", he said. That was just incredibly powerful and hot. A friend wrapped a sheet around his leg and called for help.

Doctors were able to save his leg, but he must stay off of it for six weeks. Officials are concerned that "laze", a risky product produced when hot lava hits cool ocean water, will affect residents.

No major injuries have been reported from lava haze. 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.

Geologists say Kilauea has since entered a more violent phase, in which larger volumes of molten rock are oozing from the ground and traveling farther than before.