Hawaii volcano reaches ocean, jungles, threatens geothermal plant

Hawaii volcano reaches ocean, jungles, threatens geothermal plant

The eruption of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii sparked new safety warnings about toxic gas on the Big Island's southern coastline after lava began flowing into the ocean and setting off a chemical reaction.

Darryl Clinton told the Honolulu television station KHON that he was on the roof of a home helping to put out fires from flying rocks when an explosion a couple hundred yards away launched a "lava bomb" his way.

The eruption has so far destroyed 50 buildings, including about two dozen homes.

Scientists have explained how lava from the Kilauea volcano is spewing a deadly plume containing tiny particles of volcanic glass. The remarkable footage was taken May 22 in the vicinity of the Puna Geothermal Venture, a plant that brings steam to the surface by way of several underground wells.

Concerns lava flow could reach nearby geothermal plant; Jeff Paul reports. There also were plans to install metal plugs in the wells as an additional stopgap measure. That steam is then directed into a turbine generator that produces electricity, according to Hawaiian Electric.

Earlier this month officials removed a flammable gas called pentane from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions.

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Clinton became the first known person injured by Kilauea since its volcanic activity dramatically increased more than three weeks ago.

That prompted safety warnings about toxic gas on the Big Island's southern coastline.

The latest explosive eruption at the Kilauea summit at around 1 a.m. (6 a.m. EST) sent a plume of ash over Hawaii's Big Island, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported in a statement. Lava flowing from the volcano recently reached the ocean, causing a unsafe lava-haze phenomena known as ' laze' that sends acid- and glass-laced steam shooting into the air, creating yet another hazard for those downwind of the lava's ocean entry point.

Since the start of the eruption, lava flows have forced evacuations, closed a geothermal plant that supplies 25 percent of the island's power and created a noxious plume of "laze" when it began flowing into the ocean.

Nighttime photos released Wednesday by the U.S. Geological Survey show the flames spouting from road cracks in the Leilani Estates neighborhood where the volcano has been sending up lava through vents in the ground.

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Palaniswami , said police had been forced to act after the protests turned violent, and that nine people had been killed . Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition Indian National Congress party, called the incident "state sponsored terrorism".

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