Hawaii's Kilauea volcano spews lava everywhere
By Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner and Brian Ries, CNN
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Lava is blocking roads in Hawaii
Active lava flows continue to plague the area near Kilauea Volcano. A photo from the United States Geological Survey shows lava blocking a road in the lower East Rift Zone.
Puna Geothermal Venture plant is not under immediate threat
From CNN's Pierre Meilhan and Scott McLean
A lava flow from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is not posing an immediate threat to the Puna Geothermal Venture plant, the U.S. Geological Survey said Wednesday.
The lava created a natural wall that blocked the flow from reaching the plant, USGS scientist Wendy Stovall told reporters.
A widening in the rift zone also caused land south of the eruption to sink, she said. Because of that, the primary lava flow was moving south and away from the plant.
Puna Geothermal Venture, which is able to supply up to 10 percent of the electricity on the Big Island, has been secured, with all of its 11 wells successfully capped, Mike Kaleikini, senior director of Hawaii Affairs for Ormat, the plant's owner.
PGV employees are monitoring the situation, he said.
Dramatic video shows lava gushing from the earth
Brett Carr took this video of a fissure eruption at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano early Wednesday.
Hawaiian authorities said fissure eruptions picked up several days ago.
A USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist said they don't know how long the eruptions will last.
"For now, it looks like it's going to continue. We take it day by day," the scientist told residents on Tuesday.
Eruptions continue and lava is still flowing
From CNN's Faith Karimi and Holly Yan
Several fissures, or cracks in the ground, are pumping out lava, as eruptions continue in Kilauea volcano's lower east side, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said Wednesday.
The civil defense agency said county, state and federal officials are also monitoring the situation at the Puna Geothermal Venture property, the civil defense agency said.
Relentless lava flow has reached the plant, which produces electricity by bringing steam up from underground wells and funneling it to a turbine generator.
Officials are trying to prevent possible explosions or the release of toxic fumes by "quenching" most of the wells, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency spokesman Thomas Travis said.
Quenching starts with filling underground wells with cold water. So far, 10 of the 11 wells at the geothermal plant have been quenched, Hawaii County officials said.
Volcanic ash is falling from the sky
Occasional bursts of volcanic ash have been spreading from the Halemaumau crater in Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, the National Weather Service in Hawaii reported.
The ash will likely fall over Highway 11 and Kau district, as winds move toward the southwest.
The weather service urged residents to avoid exposure to the ash, which can cause eye and respiratory issues.
CNN's "lava cam" may look like it's close — but it's a mile away
CNN photojournalist Jordan Guzzardo has been operating what volcano watchers have dubbed CNN's "Lava Cam" near the town of Pahoa since Tuesday morning.
Here's what Guzzardo says the last 36 hours have been like:
- The camera is a mile from the lava, but it doesn't seem that far away. He's in a residential area. But to enter the area, he had to meet up with a resident and go through two police checkpoints.
- It's not hot, but the sounds are a little scary. The lava is casting a bright orange glow and it sounds like running water from afar. But at another site, the pressure of the lava flow sounds like a jet engine or cannon blast.
- There's no immediate danger. But he said it could change rapidly. Right now, the plume of smoke is not moving toward his direction. The smoke, he said, has no particular smell. But he's been told that if smells something, he would have to leave.
Lava bombs, as explained by a geologist
James Webster, a geologist with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, walked us through the science of a term we've been hearing a lot today: lava bombs.
"Lava bombs are actually — it was molten material that was blown out of a fissure, or a small cone in the ground. And it's cooling as it moved through the air, but it's still very high temperatures."
The bombs are propelled through the air by "expanding gases," he said.