Hawaii volcano belches new ash plume as geothermal wells secured from harm

Hawaii volcano belches new ash plume as geothermal wells secured from harm

The first person seriously injured by Hawaii's Kilauea volcano eruption is in high spirits just a few days after a "lava bomb" almost sliced his leg in half, KHON 2 reports. A metal cap has been added on top as an additional measure. Authorities are especially concerned about how flowing lava could affect Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV), a plant that provides at least one-quarter of the Big Island's daily energy needs via geothermal wells. That steam is then directed into a turbine generator that produces electricity, according to Hawaiian Electric.

Nighttime photos released by the US Geological Survey were taken in the Leilani Estates neighbourhood where the volcano has been sending up lava through vents in the ground.

Lava destroyed a building near the plant, bringing the total number of structures overtaken in the past several weeks to almost 50, including dozens of homes.

Puna Geothermal represents about 4.5 percent of Ormat's worldwide generating capacity. Kilauea's summit is now belching 15,000 tons (13,607 metric tons) of the gas each day up from 6,000 tons (5443 metric tons) daily prior to the May 3 eruption.

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

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Besides explosive eruptions from the summit, Kilauea is oozing lava into neighborhoods about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away. It hit him above the ankle.

Mr Clinton, who was the first person to suffer a major injury at the hands of the eruption, said doctors saved his leg but he must avoid putting weight on it for six weeks. Officials are concerned that "laze", a unsafe product produced when hot lava hits cool ocean water, will affect residents.

Kilauea's latest eruptive episode has upended life on parts of the Big Island since April 30, when the floor of the Puu Oo Crater, on the volcano's East Rift Zone, collapsed and sent its pool of lava back underground.

Geologists say Kilauea has since entered a more violent phase, in which larger volumes of molten rock are oozing from the ground and traveling farther than before.

Beyond the immediate fire danger from the lava, high levels of sulfur dioxide spewing from the volcano pose a serious threat to children, elderly people, and people with respiratory issues, the United States Geological Survey said.

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