Kilauea volcanic lava may cross geothermal property

Infrared images reveal damage on Hawaii's Big Island

Lava creeps over Hawaii geothermal plant property [photos]

Lava has never engulfed a geothermal plant anywhere in the world, according to the head of the state's emergency management agency.

Officials earlier this month removed 50,000 gallons (189,265 liters) of a flammable gas called pentane from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions. At this time there is no hydrogen sulfide detected.

Around 2,000 residents of Leilani Estates and nearby Lanipuna Gardens remain under evacuation orders because of lava flows and high levels of toxic sulfur dioxide gas from volcanic vents.

Ten of the wells were cooled down with water, but the eleventh had to be filled with a clay because water wasn't working.

On Monday morning, a flow from fissure no. 8 - which had been traveling at hundreds of yards per hour Sunday - crossed Pohoiki Road at a slower clip (about 13 feet an hour) and was also setting off methane bursts as it covered vegetation in the woods.

Residents have complained of health hazards from emissions from the plant since it went online in 1989 and PGV has been the target of lawsuits challenging its location on the flank of one of the world's most active volcanoes.

A rising ash plume from Halema'uma'u, a crater at the summit of Kilauea, is seen from the caldera rim near Volcano House in Hawaii, U.S. May 24, 2018.

Magma is draining underground from a sinking lava lake at Kilauea's 4,091-foot (1,247-meter) summit before flowing around 25 miles (40 km) east and bursting from giant cracks, with two flows reaching the ocean just over three miles (5 km) distant.

Jeff Hickman, public affairs officer for Hawaii National Guard, stood in front of fissure 7, Sunday, on Leilani Ave. talking about the dangers of getting too close to the lava flow.

Marines are on standby, ready to airlift residents if lava cuts off more streEts, leaving people stranded.

Officials say almost 50 structures, including dozens of houses, have been destroyed since fissures began opening up in backyards on May 3.

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