Technology

Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Threatens Crucial Israeli-Owned Power Plant

Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Threatens Crucial Israeli-Owned Power Plant

Gov. David Ige said Tuesday that authorities are monitoring the flow of lava and the threat to the plant.

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 occurrence of new lava-spewing vents, now numbering at least 22, have been accompanied by flurries of earthquakes and periodic eruptions of ash, volcanic rock and toxic gases from the volcano's summit crater. The nearby Gemini Observatory in Hilo, Hawaii, captured a time-lapse glimpse at Kilauea from Monday night into Tuesday morning as the light from the volcano and its almost two-dozen fissures beamed through the clouds. There also were plans to install metal plugs in the wells as an additional stopgap measure. A flammable gas called pentane is used as part of the process, though officials earlier this month removed 50,000 gallons (190,000 liters) of the gas from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions.

Witnessing the lava up close, injury notwithstanding, had been unforgettable, he said. Goddess of fire, Pele, is believed to live on Kilauea volcano, and the plant itself is thought to desecrate her name. It is responsible for 4.5% of Ormat's total geothermal power production worldwide. ( AP ) White plumes of acid and extremely fine shards of glass billowed into the sky over Hawaii as molten rock from Kilauea volcano poured into the ocean, creating yet another hazard from an eruption that began more than two weeks ago.

Before the Leilani Estates eruption, the volcano's summit had been releasing an average of 3,000 to 6,000 tons of sulfur dioxide each day.

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

A man was seriously injured on Saturday by a flying lava bomb as he was sitting on his balcony.

He said that ten wells have been cooled with cold water to counter the pressure from rising volcanic steam. A number of fissures have been spewing lava nearly continuously, and the lava has pushed its way two and a half miles and is flowing into the Pacific Ocean.

Photographs by astronauts aboard the International Space Station have also helped researchers and responders better understand the outburst, as has data contributed by the European and Japanese space agencies, NASA officials said.


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