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

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But Kilauea's activity ratcheted up considerably on May 3 after an quake rattled the region; lava began spilling from newly created fissures and spreading through neighborhoods, turning parts of the Big Island into disaster zones.

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

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.

The Puna Geothermal Venture in Hawaii is secure, and if lava did encroach on it the danger of a toxic gas release is "very low", authorities said. A metal cap has been added on top as an additional measure. That steam is then directed into a turbine generator that produces electricity, according to Hawaiian Electric. 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.

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

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"I don't know if I was in shock", Clinton said.

Doctors at Hilo Medical Center, where Clinton remains under medical care, were able to save the injured leg, KHON 2 reports - which makes him lucky.

Thousands of Big Island residents who were living near the lava flows have already evacuated the area to escape the lava flows and noxious sulfur dioxide gases rising from the vents.

Lava erupts from a Kilauea volcano fissure on Hawaii's Big Island, May 22, 2018 in Kapoho, Hawaii. When lava hits the sea and cools, it breaks apart and sends fragments flying into the air, which could land on boats in the water, said U.S. Geological Survey scientist Wendy Stovall. Laze, a word combination of lava and haze, contains hydrochloric acid steam along with volcanic glass particles. GLISTIN was created to monitor ice sheets, but it can also detect changes in the Kilauea landscape caused by the outburst, agency officials said.

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.

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