Kilauea lava sparks haunting BLUE FLAMES


Millions of lives have been put at risk since May 3 after the Kilauea volcano's first eruptions saw fissures spewing lava which had been sitting in the volcano for up to 60 years.

Helicopter overflight of Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone shows the lava channel emerging from Fissure 22 (not visible, but to the center, far right of the image). Seven instruments aboard NASA 's International Space Station and partner satellites have been detecting active fissures, fires, ash and sulphur dioxide plume as well as the height and composition of volcanic plumes, a NASA release explains.

Low lava fountains were erupting from a almost continuous 3 kilometre portion of the series of fissures that have opened up in the ground, scientists said. "We're [filling] any gaps they may have in their information as the disaster is evolving".

Eerie blue flames flared from the ground on Hawaii's Big Island on Tuesday night (May 22), marking a rarely seen phenomenon that can arise during volcanic eruptions.

Officials fear the lava could block access to shops, schools and hospitals if it crosses key roads and isolates communites in the mostly rural part of the island where Kilauea is erupting.

A third lava flow was entering the ocean in Lower Puna, the latest hitting the water between Pohoiki Bay and MacKenzie State Park, Hawaii County Civil Defense officials said Thursday.

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On the heels of toxic gas clouds, which formed over the weekend as lava spilled into the ocean, the blue flames raise ideas of a Hawaii on the verge of an apocalypse.

If lava gets in the wells at the plant, it can release hydrogen sulfide, a risky gas.

Officials have also warned residents tobeware of "laze", or lava haze, a toxic gas containing tiny shards of glass which is produced when lava flows collide with the sea.

Each CH-53E can carry more than 50 passengers at a time. Gen. Kenneth Hara says the helicopters will allow an evacuation to be completed within a few hours. Every time they return, the couple said they don't know if it will still be there. The fountains were feeding channelized lava flows down to the coast. "The cloud did not contain much ash and cleared quickly", explained the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

In addition, trace ashfall over the Kau district from Kilauea Volcano was still a concern.

"Web cams, observers and radar data indicate that occasional small bursts of volcanic ash continue to emanate from Halemaumau Crater", said weather officials in a National Weather Service bulletin.