Hawaii volcano latest: Footage shows blue flames bursting through cracks in road after eruption

Lava, sulfur dioxide, methane and steam released into the atmosphere

Thursday 24 May 2018 12:30
Blue flames appear from cracks in Hawaii road

Footage has captured rare blue flames bursting through cracks in a road in Hawaii following the Kilauea volcano eruption.

The volcano produces methane when hot lava buries and burns plants and trees.

When this gas flows up through cracks in the road it ignites and produces a blue flame.

"It's very dramatic. It's very eerie," Jim Kauahikaua, a US Geological Survey scientist, said, adding it was just the second time he had seen blue flames during an eruption.

The methane can also cause explosions when it ignites while trapped underground, tossing rocks into the air, said Wendy Stovall, a scientist at the geological survey.

Hawaii County has ordered around 2,000 people to evacuate from Leilani Estates and surrounding neighbourhoods since the eruption began on 3 May.

The volcano has opened more than 20 vents in the ground that have released lava, sulfur dioxide and steam. The lava has been pouring down the volcano and into the ocean miles away.

The eruption, which has been going on for more than two weeks, has destroyed 50 buildings, including many homes.

One person was seriously injured after being hit by a flying piece of lava.

Authorities have warned that even small pieces of molten rock can kill.

Agencies contributed to this report

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