Three lava flows reach coast as volcanic eruption batters Hawaii

Pauline Gross
May 25, 2018

New footage from the Hawaii Army National Guard paints a stark picture of Puna, Hawaii, as the lava flows burn bright red in the darkness of night. It was the projectiles from the lava fountains they had to watch for, and they had learned to judge their arc as they sailed through the air, pushed by the wind.

One major potential hazard that appeared to have been brought under control was at the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) plant, which provides about a quarter of the Big Island's electricity. Officials announced the incident with few details, identifying Clinton only as a homeowner on Noni Farms Road who had shattered his leg from his shin to his foot when lava spatter struck him.

"What we try to focus on with all our messaging is that people recognize the possibility of isolation, that they need to be prepared", Talmadge Magno, Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator, told reporters Wednesday. The first fissure created 44 fountains, one every three to four weeks, for more than three years.

The methane can seep through cracks several feet away from the lava.

There's no indication about whether lava volume will increase or decrease, she said. Kauahikaua said it was moving along the west side of another flow. And right now, it's all a lava lake.

Small eruptions are continuing at the summit of Kilauea.

On Wednesday, molten lava from the volcano had reached within 200 meters of one of Puna's 11 geothermal energy well pads, and burned down a disused building, Haaretz reported.

Blackout not expected in Hawaii even if lava reaches power plant, officials say

The latest back-to-back upheavals of ash from the main summit crater of Kilauea - one before dawn and another several hours later - came on the 21st day of what geologists rank as one of the biggest eruption cycles in a century from one of the world's most active volcanoes.

NASA scientists are also measuring the eruption from the air, using a G-III aircraft outfitted with an instrument called the Glacier and Land Ice Surface Topography Interferometer (GLISTIN). Of those, about 4 percent - 2,000 residents - have been forced to evacuate.

Explosive bursts of lava, steam and ash are the new normal on the Big Island, and rivers of lava continue to threaten homes - as well as a geothermal electrical plant.

The eruption has destroyed 50 buildings, including almost two dozen homes.

Emissions of sulfur dioxide from the eruption remain high near the fissures.

Officials plan to distribute free masks to protect families from volcanic ash.

A man hit by a "lava bomb" during eruptions says he's lucky to be alive.

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