After first crossing onto the Puna Geothermal Power Plant’s facilities yesterday, Hawaii County Civil Defense reports that lava from the Kilauea volcano covered at least one well Sunday and was nearing a second well-head 100 feet away.
As CBS News reports, David Mace, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the flow started about 200 yards away from the nearest well. But he said safety precautions went into effect before the breach.
“I think it’s safe to say authorities have been concerned about the flow of lava onto the plant property since the eruption started,” he said.
The Hawaii Civil Defense Agency said all the wells remained “stable and secure” in a statement released Sunday night.
The well was successfully plugged in anticipation of the lava flow, and a second well 100 feet away has also been secured, according to the report.
The plugs protect against the release of gas that could turn toxic when mixed with lava.
Plant spokesman Mike Kaleikini told the news agency Hawaii News Now that there was no indication of the release of the poisonous gas hydrogen sulfide – the greatest fear should lava hit the wells.
“As long as conditions are safe, we will have personnel on site,” Kaleikini said.
“Primary concern is sulfur dioxide from the eruption and lava coming on site. We monitor for hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide on a continuous basis.”
Lava is expected to cover over more of the plant’s wells over the next few days but no one knows for sure what will happen…as Reuters reports,
Lava has never engulfed a geothermal plant anywhere in the world and the potential threat is untested, according to the head of the state’s emergency management agency.
As we detailed yesterday, local experts say that the lava flow is “advancing faster and expanding” and the following stunning clip gives some context for the moves…
#BREAKING #LeilaniEstatesEruption #KilaueaVolcano EVACUATION: New video of pāhoehoe flow from fissure 7 that reportedly traveled almost a mile in 30mins— trapping a resident inside who reportedly was guided out with help from a drone https://t.co/ihRROFPVUM @HawaiiNewsNow #HINews pic.twitter.com/kvW1CkV8zU
— Mileka Lincoln (@MilekaLincoln) May 28, 2018
An active fissure in the hard-hit Leilani Estates community began belching lava at a faster rate on Sunday, forcing some residents to evacuate and leaving one man briefly trapped in his home. Hawaii News Now reported that the man was eventually guided safely off his property by emergency crews.
The US Geological Survey said Sunday that fissure 7 was “very active, producing a large spatter rampart over 100 feet tall from fountains reaching 150-200 feet.”
Evening #HVO #Kilauea update, May 27: Vigorous eruptions @ fissures 7, 22, 13, some activity @ fissure 21. 22 & 13 feeding lava flows S to ocean entry. Fissure 7 made perched channels, lava flow onto PGV Pad E. Summit plumes up to 10,000 ft. https://t.co/7sDZqcx8dU #KilaueaErupts pic.twitter.com/w2EkrBJ17X
— USGS Volcanoes???? (@USGSVolcanoes) May 28, 2018
The USGS warned that magma was still flowing into the rift zone.
“Additional ground cracking and outbreaks of lava in the area of the active fissures are possible. Residents downslope of the region of fissures should heed all Hawaii County Civil Defense messages and warnings,” it said.