Kilauea volcanic lava may cross geothermal property
29 May, 2018, 14:06 | Author: Bert Pena
Lava from the Kilauea volcano has halted after reaching a geothermal power plant on the Big Island on Sunday, approaching wells that have been capped to protect against the release of toxic gas should they mix with lava.
One at the Halemaumau Crater pushed an ash cloud 13,000 feet into the air early Monday morning, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory report.
Operator Ormat Technologies Inc last week said there was no above-ground damage to the plant, but it would have to wait until the situation stabilized to assess the impact of earthquakes and subterranean lava flows on the wells. Officials said there was no release of any unsafe hydrogen sulfide gas after lava crept over the plugged wells.
Lava-filled fissures have torn apart chunks of the southeastern side of the Big Island over the past three weeks as Kilaeau has become more active.
Three weeks into the volcano's eruption, scientists said the summit is still too risky to survey on foot. Officials have said the power plant is safe but lava has never engulfed a geothermal plant anywhere in the world, leaving a measure of uncertainty.
About 2,000 people were ordered to evacuate from the rural communities where the lava fissures opened.
As of Friday, lava has destroyed 82 structures, including 37 homes. She's a former smoker, "so that's probably part of the problem, " she said.
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.
Scientists believe the volcanic activity may be a precursor to a major eruption similar to the one that shook the island in the mid-1920s.
Authorities continue to urge residents in lower Puna to be prepared to flee quickly, either because of the risk of lava flows or higher levels of sulfur dioxide.
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Although potentially fatal if inhaled, Stovall said the danger was confined to the immediate vicinity of laze plumes themselves. Stovall said lava spatter from one of the vents was forming a wall that was helping protect a nearby geothermal plant.
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