Sunday, 20 October, 2019

USA: Lava inches toward geothermal plant raising fears in Hawaii

Pahoehoe lava advancing west from fissure 7 on Leilani Avenue Pahoehoe lava advancing west from fissure 7 on Leilani Avenue
Patty Aguilar | 28 May, 2018, 19:24

With an active volcanic fissure in the background, the lava flow from the Kilauea eruption is seen from the kitchen window of a home on Nohea Street in the Leilani Estates near Pahoa, Hawaii, on Sunday.

Firefighters went door-to-door asking residents of Leilani Estates on the island to leave as lava from the volcano continued to flow, threatening more homes, reported CNN.

But lava has never engulfed a geothermal plant anywhere in the world and the potential threat is untested, according to the head of the state's emergency management agency.

The lava crossed onto the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) yesterday evening according to the US Geological Survey, having destroyed dozens of nearby houses in the past few days.

The Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has now covered nearly 2,400 acres in lava. Founded in Yavne, Israel, Ormat is today headquartered in Nevada.

Massiva lava fountains shoot out from active fissures along Kilauea's east rift zone in lower Puna
Massiva lava fountains shoot out from active fissures along Kilauea's east rift zone in lower Puna

The European Space Agency tweeted unbelievable photos of the lava that has gushed from over 20 fissures on the island since Kilauea erupted on May 3. "We monitor for hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide on a continuous basis", Mike Kaleikini said.

Meanwhile, about 60,000 gallons of pentane, a highly-flammable chemical, were moved from the PGV site early this month. The flames are methane gas, a byproduct produced from burning plants and shrubs that are buried under lava. The wells have also been deactivated.

Halemaumau Crater is producing small bursts of volcanic ash. He said there was no indication of the release of the poisonous gas hydrogen sulfide, the greatest fear should lava hit the wells. Primary concern is sulfur dioxide from the eruption and lava coming on site.

With the current conditions, communities where lava fissures have opened and those downwind are the most affected.

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