Methane Rises From Volcano Cracks Creating Blue Flames

Workers in Hawaii plugging energy wells as lava flows nearby

When Noah Friend and Shantel Pacarro returned to their home in Leilani Estates on Hawaii's Big Island this week, the problem wasn't the glowing lava from the Kilauea volcano that has threatened the region - it was large cracks in the ground, running right beneath their house.

- Blue flames from burning methane have become part of the eruption of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.

These eerie blue flames are actually burning methane. 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.

As the photo shows, Kilauea is not only visible from space - you can also see the lava spewing out of the volcano.

It knocked him backward on the third-floor lanai of his neighbour's home on the eastern end of the Big Island, where most people had evacuated amid three weeks of heightened volcanic activity on Kilauea. Since the volcano began erupting in early May, it's destroyed dozens of homes and other structures and send thousands of evacuees packing.

Hawaii County Civil Defense officials said if lava interacts with the wells, it could release risky hydrogen sulfide gas.

"We now have the capacity to evacuate all of the estimated population of lower Puna south of the lava flow within a few hours", Brig.

Workers in Hawaii plugging energy wells as lava flows nearby
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Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports eruption activity continues in the Lower East Rift Zone. The public "should feel pretty comfortable that there should be no untoward events from Puna Geothermal Venture".

However, authorities warned that if there is an underground build-up of the gas which is suddenly ignited, it can cause a powerful explosion, and toss chunks of rock several feet away, potentially injuring anybody it hits.

Clinton was the first to suffer a major injury because of the eruption.

There are now three lava flows entering the ocean between Pohoiki Bay and MacKenzie State Park (Highway 137 mile markers 12 to 14).

"It's probably going to do this for a little while longer", said US Geological Survey scientist Wendy Stovall on the conference call, describing the stage of the eruption as the "middle" or "kind of the steady state".

Underscoring the eruption's dangers, a Hawaii man was hit by a flying piece of lava over the weekend said the molten rock almost sheared his leg in half.

Laze occurs when hot lava meets the ocean, sending a plume of hydrochloric acid and steam, along with fine glass particles, into the air.

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