Current lava flows are hottest, fastest of latest eruption

Hawaii volcanic smog blankets Marshall Islands

Lava flow enters Hawaii geothermal plant property | World News

Officials say there was no release of any unsafe hydrogen sulfide gas after lava crept over the plugged wells Sunday.

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.

"This is the hottest lava that we've seen in this eruption, even just a matter of 50 degrees centigrade makes a big difference in how quickly lava flows can move and how they behave once the magma exits the vent", Stovall said.

Before the lava reached the well, plant spokesman Mike Kaleikini told the news agency Hawaii News Now that there was no indication of the release of the poisonous gas hydrogen sulfide - the greatest fear should lava hit the wells.

Officials said the lava destroyed the electric utility's equipment on the highway which led to power losses at the Vacationland and Kapoho Beach lots. The Civil Defense Agency warned it could cause injury if it got in residents' eyes or was breathed in.

Authorities also were scrambling to warn residents about fast-moving lava that threatens to engulf more homes in the Leilani Estates community.

More people living on the Big Island have been advised to evacuate.

The unsafe fibers - named after Hawaiian fire and volcano goddess Pele - are produced when lava splatter droplets cools rapidly in the air and can cause skin and eye irritation similar to volcanic ash.

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

Earlier on Tuesday, a small explosion of ash erupted from the summit of the volcano in a vertical plume some 15,000 feet (4,600 meters) high, the U.S. Geological Survey said, the latest outburst in a month of volcanic activity. Lava lobes from Fissure 8 were advancing 100 yards an hour, the USGS said. Wind conditions in the coming days means "vog" - volcanic gas mixed with ash - is expected to spread over the island, according to the USGS.

The Kilauea volcano has been erupting for four weeks. The facility produces roughly one-quarter of the Big Island's daily energy supply.

Kilauea is the youngest and most active Hawaiian shield volcano, located on the southern part of the Island of Hawai'i, known as Big Island.

"The lava continues to flow and may reach other wells and areas of the Puna facility", Ormat said in a statement on Monday. 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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