Published: Fri, June 01, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Lava covers potentially explosive well at Hawaii geothermal plant

Lava covers potentially explosive well at Hawaii geothermal plant

Lava also has covered two wells at a geothermal plant.

Contingency plans have been made for a possible helicopter evacuation of up to 1,000 residents in a coastal area south of the fissures should their last exit route, State Highway 130, become blocked by lava or become unsafe due to gaping cracks, County of Hawaii officials said.

Kilauea rumbled back to life on May 3 as it began extruding lava and toxic gases through a series of cracks in the ground on its eastern flank, marking the latest phase of an eruption cycle that has continued almost nonstop for 35 years.

"Rather than shock and surprise it was more of a resolve that, OK, it's come to us now", Steven Neill, a Kapoho evacuee, told CNN affiliate KGMB/KHNL on Wednesday.

"Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that lava from several fissures continues to advance toward the Kapoho area", a Civil Defense message said, referencing an area that was devastated during a 1960 eruption.

Hawaii County said lava destroyed the local electric utility's equipment on the highway, which knocked out power to Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots neighborhoods toward the coast. "It can cause injury to eyes and lungs if breathed in".

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At least 128 structures on the island have already been destroyed, cut off or otherwise left uninhabitable by lava flows, Kim said. That lava flow has stopped on the property so there is no risk, for now, to the other nine wells.

On Wednesday, Fissure 8 fueled a river of lava that traveled nearly a half-mile in 80 minutes, according to the Civil Defense Agency.

"It's hard to get to the center, which is the hottest portion of the fountain", Stovall said. They estimated violent eruptions of molten rock spewing out of a nearby fissure - Fissure 8 - were burning through anything in its path at a rate of 600 yards per hour.

Winds are set to shift on Monday and Tuesday, causing higher concentrations of ash and volcanic smog that will spread west and north-west to affect more populated areas, said National Weather Service meteorologist John Bravender. Vog is a haze created when sulfur dioxide gas and other volcanic pollutants mix with moisture and dust.

Ash is still erupting from Kilauea's summit, Ball added, in addition to seismic activity and gas output. Hundreds of people have been ordered to leave the vicinity of one of the world's most active volcanoes in its biggest eruption cycle in a century. If the cracks on Highway 130 would become larger or lava flows would cut off this road, the Chain of Craters Road would be the evacuation road for around 1000 people living in Kalapana southwest of the now active fissure system.

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