Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Threatens Crucial Israeli-Owned Power Plant

Earthquakes mapped

Lava erupts and flows from a Kilauea volcano fissure, near to the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) plant (TOP R), on Hawaii's Big Island on May 21, 2018 near Pahoa, Hawaii.

"We're providing actionable scientific products to teams on the ground to support response activities and fill any gaps they may have in their information as the disaster is evolving", Struve said.

She says it's also producing the highest lava wall, which is blocking molten rock from flowing north toward the plant.

The Puna power plant supplies 25 percent of the island's electricity, the daily business website Calcalist reported. The building was owned by the state and was used in geothermal research projects in the early days of the site.

By Wednesday, molten lava erupting from the 22nd fissure caused by Kilauea's latest spasms had reached within 200 meters of one of Puna's 11 geothermal energy well pads, and burned down a disused building.

Production wells at the Puna Geothermal plant, which harnesses heat and steam from the earth's core to spin turbines to generate power, have been plugged to prevent toxic gases from seeping out. Earlier this month, officials removed 50,000 gallons (190,000 liters) of the gas from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions. Some lava, however, menaced a geothermal plant.

Lava pouring into the sea
EPALava beginning to explode when it hits the sea shooting rock fragments which are a danger to boats

Lava destroyed a building near the plant, bringing the total number of structures overtaken in the past several weeks to almost 50, including dozens of homes.

Puna Geothermal represents about 4.5 percent of Ormat's worldwide generating capacity.

Scientists say lava from Kilauea is causing explosions as it enters the ocean, which can look like fireworks. Ormat is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and shares have fallen almost 10 percent since Kilauea began erupting.

Authorities also said that emissions of sulfur dioxide gas, harmful if inhaled, remained at high levels from newly opened lava-spewing fissures in the ground running through populated areas on the eastern flank of the volcano. One man was seriously injured after being hit by a flying piece of lava.

The volcano's lava flow has destroyed more than 50 properties so far, with USGS scientists still unable to determine when the eruptions might stop.

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.

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