Quantcast

‘Eerie’ Blue Flames Burn in Cracks Caused by Hawaii Volcano - KOAM TV 7

‘Eerie’ Blue Flames Burn in Cracks Caused by Hawaii Volcano

Updated:

By Audrey McAvoy of the Associated Press:

HONOLULU (AP) — Scientists in Hawaii have captured rare images of blue flames burning from cracks in the pavement as the Kilauea volcano gushes fountains of lava in the background, offering insight into a new dimension in the volcano’s weeks-long eruption.

Volcanos produce methane when hot lava buries and burns plants and trees. The gas flows through the ground and up through existing cracks.

“It’s very dramatic. It’s very eerie,” Jim Kauahikaua, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist, told reporters.

He said it was only the second time he’s ever seen blue flames during an eruption.

The methane can seep through cracks several feet away from the lava. It can also cause explosions when it’s ignited while trapped underground. These blasts can toss blocks several feet away, said Wendy Stovall, also a scientist at the Geological Survey.

Hawaii County has ordered about 2,000 people to evacuate from Leilani Estates and surrounding neighborhoods since the eruption began on May 3.

The volcano has opened more than 20 vents in the ground that have released lava, sulfur dioxide and steam. The lava has been pouring down the flank of the volcano and into the ocean miles away.

The eruption has destroyed 50 buildings, including about two dozen homes. One person was seriously injured after being hit by a flying piece of lava.

Stovall said lava spatter from one vent was forming a wall that was helping protect a nearby geothermal plant.

Lava from that vent was shooting further into the air and producing the highest lava wall of all the vents, which was blocking molten rock from flowing north toward the plant.

Officials shut down Puna Geothermal shortly after the eruption began.

On Tuesday, officials finished stabilizing wells that bring up hot liquid and steam to feed a turbine generator. A team from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and the company continued Wednesday to plug the wells to make sure the fluid inside doesn’t move from one part of the well to the other, said Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for Hawaii County.

Earlier this month officials removed a flammable gas called pentane from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions.

Tourism officials cheered news that a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship that tours the Hawaiian Islands would resume stopping in Kailua-Kona next week. Businesses catering to tourists on the cruise have been hurt since the company suspended Big Island port visits after the eruption began.

The company said it would resume calling on Hilo, a town on the eastern side of the island closer to the lava, when conditions allow.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Post-Michael Florida: Fear, frustration and life on the edge

    Post-Michael Florida: Fear, frustration and life on the edge

    Thursday, October 18 2018 12:58 AM EDT2018-10-18 04:58:38 GMT
    Thursday, October 18 2018 10:50 PM EDT2018-10-19 02:50:23 GMT
    (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert). Lanie Eden cries as she looks for her family's possessions in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. They evacuated just before the storm. She said the family had so many cherished...(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert). Lanie Eden cries as she looks for her family's possessions in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. They evacuated just before the storm. She said the family had so many cherished...
    Some tearful residents of Mexico Beach are coming home to find no home left in the florida Panhandle community that was nearly wiped out by Hurricane Michael.More >>
    Some tearful residents of Mexico Beach are coming home to find no home left in the florida Panhandle community that was nearly wiped out by Hurricane Michael.More >>
  • APNewsBreak: NTSB hasn't fully examined limo in fatal crash

    APNewsBreak: NTSB hasn't fully examined limo in fatal crash

    Thursday, October 18 2018 8:39 PM EDT2018-10-19 00:39:09 GMT
    Thursday, October 18 2018 10:49 PM EDT2018-10-19 02:49:32 GMT
    (Tom Heffernan Sr. via AP, File). FILE  - In this Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 file photo, a body is draped under a blanket at the scene of a fatal crash in Schoharie, N.Y. A criminal case is preventing federal safety officials from conducting a full examina...(Tom Heffernan Sr. via AP, File). FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 file photo, a body is draped under a blanket at the scene of a fatal crash in Schoharie, N.Y. A criminal case is preventing federal safety officials from conducting a full examina...
    A criminal case is preventing federal safety officials from being able to conduct a full examination of the limousine involved in a crash that killed 20 people nearly two weeks ago in upstate New York.More >>
    A criminal case is preventing federal safety officials from being able to conduct a full examination of the limousine involved in a crash that killed 20 people nearly two weeks ago in upstate New York.More >>
  • Wet and mild: Warm winter predicted for much of the US

    Wet and mild: Warm winter predicted for much of the US

    Thursday, October 18 2018 12:21 PM EDT2018-10-18 16:21:19 GMT
    Thursday, October 18 2018 10:49 PM EDT2018-10-19 02:49:55 GMT
    The National Weather Service is predicting a warmer than normal winter for about three-quarters of the nation.More >>
    The National Weather Service is predicting a warmer than normal winter for about three-quarters of the nation.More >>
Powered by Frankly

KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas
Send tips, ideas and press releases to: tips@koamtv.com
Send newsroom questions or comments to: comments@koamtv.com
Phone: (417) 624-0233 or (620) 231-0400
Web comments or questions: webmaster@koamtv.com
Newsroom Fax: (417) 624-3158

Powered by Frankly, Inc. All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KOAM. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.