Fears of massive explosion as Hawaii lava flow reaches power station

Glen Norman
May 29, 2018

A series of summit explosions on Saturday spewed ash from Kilauea volcano up to 11,000ft and dusted communities to the south-west, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.

The Hawaii News Now website reported the residents living near the 38 MW PGV received alert via text message from Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency about 6:15 am Sunday, saying lava flew into PGV property overnight.

Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has had it all over the past three weeks: molten rock shooting toward the sky, lava oozing from the ground and ash clouds rising miles into the air.

The new fissure sent more lava into the to evacuated Leilani Estates district in the eastern corner of Hawaii's Big Island.

David Mace of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said the lava is on the 40 acres of the 815-acre property that house the geothermal wells and the deactivated powerplant. Officials say the flow is advancing on Nohea and Kupono streets north of Leilani Street.

"Residents downslope of the region of fissures should heed all Hawaii County Civil Defense messages and warnings", it said.

Officials earlier this month carted away 50,000 gallons of potentially toxic gas away from the site, which lies on the southeast flank of the volcano, nestled between residential neighborhoods.

"It's this tide of lava that rises up and overflows itself on the edges and keeps rising and progressing forward", U.S. Geological Survey geologist Wendy Stovall told journalists on a conference call.

The lava has reportedly destroyed at least 82 structures and displaced thousands of people.

Lava engulfed two wells at a geothermal plant, however, there were no emissions of hydrogen sulphide. "Primary concern is sulfur dioxide from the eruption and lava coming on site".

Light winds are expected to push volcanic gases westward, increasing the presence of ash and sulfur dioxide downwind of the Kilauea summit, the National Weather Service said on Monday.

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