The Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii (Big Island) erupted on May 3, 2018, after several days of increased seismic activity. The eruption sent plumes of ash and smoke into the sky that were visible from space and forced thousands of residents in the surrounding neighborhoods to evacuate.
Kilauea is one of five volcanoes on the Big Island and has been in continuous eruption since 1983. Since the eruption a few weeks ago, there have been around 2,250 earthquakes and 20 fissures, destroying dozens of homes and shutting down entire sections of the island.
Now, a new threat looms as lava approaches a large power plant. The Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) uses steam from underground to power turbine generators that provide electricity, which is then sold to Hawaii Electric Light and powers the island. The plant's wells have been closed to prevent gases from leaking out and cooling with cold water to balance the steam pressure.
“Federal, state and county partners have been working closely to monitor the situation and work with PGV to ensure the safety of the surrounding communities. Ten of the eleven wells have been extinguished, ”the Hawaii County Civil Defense said on its website. "Efforts are being made to ensure that the site is safe and the community is kept safe."
No signs of stopping
A second eruption more powerful than the first occurred on May 17 and sent ash 30,000 feet into the air, according to the US Geological Survey. The island is currently under a "red alert" warning. , a warning to pilots about the danger of flying near toxic sulfur dioxide plumes.
After several more explosive eruptions, the lava reached the Pacific Ocean on May 19, creating a new danger for residents. When lava mixes with water, it becomes "loafing" (lava and mist), which sends volcanic gas and hydrochloric acid into the air. The fumes are irritating to the lungs, eyes and skin and can be fatal. Authorities have warned people to stay inside.
The USGS also warned people about the ballistic projectiles firing from the volcano. "At any moment, the activity could become more explosive, increasing the intensity of the ash production and producing ballistic projectiles very close to the vent," the agency's website said. A man was seriously injured when a projectile struck him in the leg, reports CNN. It is the first serious injury reported since the initial eruption.
Whether looking at the smoke and lava from the sky or the ground, it is evident from these images that the volcano has left a wide path of destruction. It shows no signs of slowing down.