USGS: Please don’t roast marshmallows over Kilauea

31 May, 2018, 11:14 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Lava reaches area of geothermal power station in Hawaii

That rate of advancement for lava is "very fast for this type of flow", said Wendy Stovall, a U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist.

The warning came in an exchange of tweets with a curious islander, who wanted to know if it was OK to bake the candies over lava from Kilauea "assuming you had a long enough stick".

He said this is as close to the eruption that we could go to be safe.

Volcanic gas emissions are still high, the USGS said.

On Monday, a user asked the USGS if it was possible to take the popular fluffy treat and dangle it over the volcanic vents sprouting across the Big Island. The plant, now shut down in the wake of encroaching volcanic activity, provides electricity to around 25 percent of the island.

Besides, adding sulfuric acid to sugar makes for what the USGS cryptically described as "a pretty spectacular reaction".

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains closed because of the volcanic activity at the summit and the ongoing eruptions on Kilauea's eastern flanks.

More fissures opened in the ensuing days and lava flows in residential areas damaged or destroyed at least 40 structures, more than 20 of which are residences. Around 2,000 residents have already abandoned their homes as a result of the eruption, which has destroyed 71 houses so far. The natural disaster was not large enough to cause a tsunami for Hawaii Island. Its operator, Israeli-controlled Ormat Technologies Inc, said it had not been able to assess the damage.

Residents fear the electrical plant's deep geothermal wells may be explosive.

Only one serious injury has been reported, after a man was hit by projectile molten rock as he sat on his balcony. Officials have said the power plant is safe but lava has never engulfed a geothermal plant anywhere in the world, leaving a measure of uncertainty.

"High concentrations of volcanic gasses are still present in the Leilani Estates area, where fissures continue to create high fountains of lava", County of Hawaii Civil Defense officials said in a statement on Wednesday.

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