Lava threatening several additional wells at Puna geothermal plant

Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

New aerial images show lava crawling onto land leased by Puna Geothermal Venture plant. (Image: Sen. Kai Kahele)

Lava flows are threatening several wells at the Puna Geothermal Venture plant, after earlier cutting off the primary access road to the facility.

But authorities said they’re “confident” that stabilization work will prevent explosions and the uncontrolled release of dangerous gases — as it did with the first two wells that were overrun by lava over the weekend.

“Nothing that I know of is designed to operate with lava intrusion,” said Tom Travis, of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

“So there’s going to be some things that burn up, you know oil is gonna make a big black cloud and smell real bad and probably not be good to breathe. But probably the lava will be intimidating enough, there will be no one near it, it might not matter.”

Aerial images shot Tuesday show lava cutting across the primary access road to the plant and encroaching on the property, taking several structures with it. The structures that were destroyed are not part of the plant, but are on land leased by the company.

Travis said that about 3 p.m., lava encroached onto well pad a, which holds several injection wells.

The new threat to the plant comes on the heels of lava flows covering two wells at the property over the weekend and as ongoing vigorous eruptions continue in lower Puna.

Lava covers an access road to the Puna Geothermal Venture plant. (Image: Sen. Kai Kahele)

Puna Geothermal Venture plant spokesman Mike Kaleikini has stressed that no release of hydrogen sulfide has been detected on the site — the biggest concern if lava were to hit the geothermal wells at the site.

Gov. David Ige, meanwhile, said at a news conference Sunday that authorities “feel confident that the risk is mitigated.”

Before the lava encroached onto the property, 10 of the 11 wells were “quenched” with cold water — a process in which the well is injected with water to cool and depressurization it. An 11th well was plugged with bentonite clay after proving resistant to quenching efforts.

Plant officials have said the mud-like substance is holding up and the pressure in the 11th well has stayed down.

However, officials have conceded they don’t know if hydrogen sulfide is the only possible hazard the community could face if lava interacts with their wells.

“Lava threatening several additional wells at Puna geothermal plant”
May 29, 2018, By Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now
http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/38287296/lava-reaches-site-of-puna-geothermal-plant-no-gas-release-detected

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Lava speeds up and bears down on Puna geothermal wells

A view from the Leilani Community Association on Sunday as fissure 7 becaome more active. An evacuation alert was sent to residents on several streets in Leilani Estates, including Makamae Street where people were looking at the lava.

Lava buried a Puna geothermal energy well Sunday and is putting a real test to a public safety plan that had been under intense scrutiny by Hawaii government leaders.

Gov. David Ige said residents in the area, some of whom live or had lived about a quarter-mile from the Puna Geothermal Venture site, are safe and shouldn’t worry.

“The PGV site is stable,” he said during a press conference late Sunday afternoon as the nearest lobe of molten rock was estimated to be around 6 feet from the well.

“We believe that we have mitigated any risk to the community,” he said. “Our main focus — from both the mayor (Harry Kim) and myself — has been on the safety and security of the community. We will continue to focus on that. Every single decision that we are making (is) on behalf of the people to keep them safe and informed and aware of what’s happening.”

The fear concerning lava burying geothermal wells is that it could breach the shafts, which go down 6,000 to 8,000 feet where they tap steam and hot water to power turbines producing electricity. Such a breach could cause an uncontrolled release of hydrogen sulfide or other potentially dangerous volcanic gases.

Ige said he’s confident this won’t happen based on work over the last 2-1/2 weeks by a task force that assessed and advised on emergency plans PGV previously devised specifically for a lava event such as this.

Risk mitigation work included “quenching” two geothermal production wells by filling them with water that acts as a heavy plug to contain the gases and hot liquid far below the surface. A third production well was filled with barite, a claylike substance that hardens when heated. This was done because water quenching didn’t work.

Also, heavy metal valves designed to withstand intense heat from lava were closed, equipment above the surface well heads was removed and pits containing the closed well heads were filled with cinder.

Ige said there is constant hydrogen sulfide gas monitoring in the area, and if any is detected Hawaii County Civil Defense will issue an immediate alert using sirens, radio and door-to-door notification in any affected area.

Michael Kaleikini, PGV’s director of Hawaii affairs, said he is “exponentially” more confident that protected wells buried by lava will be safe.

Kaleikini said the pit feature exists so PGV can bore through cooled lava and reactivate the wells that are marked by GPS coordinates. So it may be possible to restart the plant one day, he said.

PGV closed its power plant, which typically generates 25 percent of Hawaii island’s electricity, shortly after lava began coming out of ground fissures in the adjacent Leilani Estates subdivision May 3.

Residents along Makamae Street in Leilani Estates on Sunday were told to evacuate by the Hawaii National Guard.

The task force was led by Tom Travis, administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, along with Kim and Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno.

Travis said he expects nothing to happen due to lava covering quenched and sealed wells.

Only three production wells closest to the lava have been treated this way. A fourth well in the area is an injection well and doesn’t connect to the deep heat source. There are six other wells on the property, including at least two production wells, but they are on land that is farther away and 50 to 150 feet higher in elevation.

Roxanne Kala, a teacher at Kamehameha Schools in Keaau, was at her childhood home in Leilani Estates on Sunday, helping her parents remove belongings.

She said she isn’t worried about wells getting buried by lava. She’s more concerned about her family home, which is now about a block from an expanding lava flow.

“It’s grown massively,” she said of the flow, adding that she respects the power of Hawaiian fire goddess Pele, prays for safety and was helping her parents find closure with the lava threat so near.

“Witnessing her (Pele’s) creation as well as her devastation has been part of our life,” she said.

The lava near the Kala family home is from fissure 7, which advanced onto the PGV site Saturday, then paused early Sunday. But by around midday Sunday, fissure 7 was spouting lava an estimated 180 feet into the air and fed the flow that covered the well.

At 7:45 p.m. the county Civil Defense Agency ordered an immediate evacuation for Leilani Estates residents on Nohea and Luana streets between Leilani Avenue and Kahukai Street. Also, Kupono Street between Malama Street and Leilani Avenue.

Previously, lava from another direction and fissure had encroached on PGV property and contributed to the urgent government involvement in PGV emergency plans. That earlier flow, however, dried up.

Jim Kauahikaua of the U.S. Geological Survey said fissure 7 was the biggest lava producer among five fissures active Sunday.

Lava from this fissure also is moving south and possibly could create a third flow into the ocean in the next day or two, he said. Two other flows continue to enter the ocean near MacKenzie State Recreation Area.

One new fissure, 24, opened Sunday, and after relatively brief lava production, mounds of steaming rock in Leilani Estates were left across a section of Kupono Street.

Robert Henry, a 16-year Leilani Estates resident who was observing the scene at fissure 24 while on a mission to remove furniture from his distant house, said it looked like the landscape was firebombed.

“This is what it looked like in Vietnam when they dropped napalm,” he said. “This is surreal. The sulfur on the rocks. It’s amazing.”

In total, new lava has covered about 2,372 acres.

“Lava speeds up and bears down on Puna geothermal wells”
May 28, 2018, By Andrew Gomes
http://www.staradvertiser.com/2018/05/28/hawaii-news/lava-speeds-up-and-bears-down-on-puna-geothermal-wells/

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Lava covers PGV well

Lava approaches Puna Geothermal Venture on Wednesday.

A production well at Puna Geothermal Venture in Puna was covered by lava late Sunday afternoon, Hawaii County Civil Defense reported.

The agency said the lava came from fissures No. 21 and No. 7, which at 7:45 p.m. Sunday evening was described by Civil Defense as “fast moving” and a threat to more structures in Leilani Estates.

The well, KS-6, along with a second well about 100 yards away, have been “successfully plugged” and “are stable and secured, and are being monitored,” according to Civil Defense. Neither well is expected to release any hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas used in the wells, the agency said.

At an afternoon media briefing in Hilo, Gov. David Ige said, “The Puna Geothermal Venture site is safe. We believe we have mitigated any risk to the community.”

Ige said PGV employees and a task force assembled by the governor remain on site and are working to eliminate or minimize any hazards.

Tom Travis, director of Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and the head of the task force, said the four wells on one of the power plant’s pads — production wells KS-5, KS-6 and KS-14, plus injection well KS-3 — “are presenting minimum interference to the lava. They’re all close to the ground and covered, so the lava should go right over them.” All are in the lava’s path, he confirmed.

Travis said KS-5 and KS-6 have been quenched and plugged with large master valves, and cinder has been put into the well cylinders as a buffer between the lava and the valves.

Mike Kaleikini, PGV’s senior director of Hawaii affairs, said KS-14, which didn’t respond to efforts to quench it, was plugged with a clay-like substance called barite, and cinder also was installed over the barite.

“From my perspective … we’ve got a sufficient plug that’s in there. We would like to have put in the metal plug, but we’re confident that the plug will maintain its mechanical integrity,” Kaleikini said.

Concern has previously been expressed about the potential release of hydrogen sulfide from lava reaching PGV’s production wells. The power plant has been taken offline, but KS-14 is still considered active. Travis said it would be “difficult … to imagine” a hydrogen sulfide leak “as a result of the intrusion of the lava.”

“That doesn’t mean that there may not be a case that I haven’t anticipated. (But) I can give you no example of how that might happen right now,” he said.

Ige noted the county’s standard for evacuation of workers and nearby residents due to hydrogen sulfide occurs at 25 parts per billion. He said that is “a thousand times” stricter than the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s standard for workplace exposure. He said constant readings have shown a hydrogen sulfide emission level of zero at the site, but acknowledged the release of the gas into the air “is a possibility.”

U.S. Geological Survey photo Pahoehoe lava from fissure No. 7 moves west on Leilani Avenue Sunday with a lava fountain in the background. Lava from fissures Nos. 7 and 21 overran at least one production well at Puna Geothermal Venture.

“But we believe the PGV site is safe …” Ige said. “So, we feel, at this point in time, that the facility is stable and secure, and we don’t anticipate that there would be any issue with the PGV site.”

Kaleikini said there are two other well pads that are at a higher elevation than the pad covered by lava on Sunday, and another well, KS-9, still displays activity “at a lower pressure” than KS-14.

“We’ve got a pretty good handle on that. We’re getting ready to put a plug in that, also,” he said. “… I just want to emphasize … that we don’t anticipate any compromise of the wells’ mechanical integrity. We don’t anticipate any emissions of hydrogen sulfide from our geothermal wells.

“… I think the peace of mind will come once the lava crosses over the well and we can tell you guys that the well is fine, which is what we fully anticipate.”

The governor also said two Marine Corps CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, due to return to Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Oahu after a seven-day Big Island deployment, will remain “as long as we believe there is the possibility of a mass evacuation.”

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported Sunday that a new fissure, No. 24, is active in Leilani Estates subdivision between Nohea and Kupono streets.

HVO geophysicist Jim Kauahikaua said fissures 8 and 16 reactivated, 22 and 13 are still the main southbound channels going into the two ocean entries, but No. 7 is the biggest producer, with lava fountains almost 200 feet high.

“It’s been very dramatic,” Kauahikaua said. “We can actually see that fountaining very clearly on one of our East Rift Zone cams, that’s called the PGV cam.

“From vent 7, there are two main channels. The north channel goes toward PGV property, and the south channel will … go south, possibly creating a new ocean entry sometime in the next day or two, if it continues.”

Kauahikaua said there that about noon on Sunday, there was an ash plume at the summit of Kilauea which rose 10,000-feet above sea level, and the summit area of Kilauea “is still deflating.”

“The Lower East Rift Zone is quite stable, in terms of expansion and earthquakes. Gas emission rates are quite high in both areas,” he said.

Steve Brantley, HVO deputy scientist-in-charge, said the lava lake in the overlook crater inside Kilauea’s caldera has grown from about 12 acres on May 5 to between 90 and 94 acres on Saturday “as a result of rockfalls peeling away from the overlook crater walls and falling into the deepening conduit.”

Ian Morrison, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said the moderate tradewinds of the past several days, which has blown the ash and volcanic emissions to the southwest, are forecast to weaken today and shift to a more easterly, and perhaps southeasterly, direction.

“That’s gonna push some of the volcanic emissions more toward over the Puna area and possibly into the Hilo area by (this) evening,” Morrison said.

He said Puna and Hilo should experience vog, at least into Tuesday, when the trades are expected to “reinvigorate and strengthen, bringing a more east-northeast flow, and pushing the emissions down toward the coastline towards the southwest.”

Morrison said there also will be increased rain-shower activity in East Hawaii.

“Lava covers PGV well”
May 28, 2018, By John Burnett, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2018/05/28/hawaii-news/lava-inundates-pgv-well-site/

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Lava flow on Puna Geothermal property appears to have stopped

Lava moves on Wednesday in Leilani Estates in the direction of Puna Geothermal Venture plant.

The lava flow on the Puna Geothermal Venture property on Hawaii island appears to have stopped and has not reached any wells there, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey said today.

Lava on Saturday had entered the property from fissures that began in nearby Leilani Estates subdivision and crossed Pohoiki Road.

But the flow that was approaching a well pad slowed overnight and appears to have stopped, Steve Brantley, deputy scientist in charge of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, told reporters. He did not have information on how close the lava got to the well.

Hydrogen sulfide has not been detected in the area.

The PGV power plant was shut down shortly after the Kilauea eruption began May 3. Wells on the property were plugged and flammable gas called pentane was removed to reduce the chance of explosions.

Also today, the speed limit on Highway 130 between Leilani Estates and Kamalii Road was lowered to 25 mph. The reduced speed is a safety measure for drivers going over steel plates on the road.

An aerial view of the Puna Geothermal Venture plant.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

10 a.m.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported a new fissure this morning. Fissure 24 is between Kupono and Nohea streets in Leilani Estates. It’s not threatening any structures at this time.

The lava flow that crossed onto the Puna Geothermal Venture property has not impacted any wells. No hydrogen sulfide has been detected.

6:30 a.m.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said a lava flow in Leilani Estates crossed onto the Puna Geothermal Venture property overnight.

No hyrodgen sulfide has been detected as county, state and federal agencies are monitoring levels.

Volcanic gases and vog emissions may increase in areas down wind of the vents. Portions of Kamalii Road are experiencing elevated levels of sulfur dioxide.

A map of volcanic activity on Hawaii island.

SATURDAY, MAY 26

6 p.m.

The lava flow in Leilani Estates has crossed Pohoiki Road slightly north of the HGPA site, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports.

The flows to the south continue to enter the ocean near MacKenzie State Park. Lava is now covering 2,372 acres.

Halemaumau crater is also letting out small bursts of volcanic ash, which is slowly being pushed downwind, southwest into the Kau District.

Volcanic gases, vog and ash emissions may increase in areas down wind of the vents. Areas along Kamalii Road are experiencing elevated levels of sulfur dioxide.

Due to the volcanic activity, ash fallout may cause poor driving conditions. Residents nearby must remain alert to changes in the flow direction, and are advised to prepare for evacuation if their areas become threatened.

“Lava flow on Puna Geothermal property appears to have stopped”
May 27, 2018, Honolulu Star-Advertiser
http://www.staradvertiser.com/2018/05/27/breaking-news/lava-flow-on-puna-geothermal-property-appears-to-have-stopped/

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Lava Speeds Up, Takes Aim at Puna Geothermal Wells

10:40 p.m.

The well was plugged in anticipation of the lava flow, and a second well 100 feet away has also been secured, according to Civil Defense. The plugs protect against the release of gas that could turn toxic when mixed with lava.

David Mace, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 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 told the Associated Press.

Puna Geothermal, owned by Nevada’s Ormat Technologies, was shut down shortly after Kilauea began spewing lava on May 3.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

HILO >> Gov. David Ige announced this afternoon that lava on Hawaii island is expected to cover a few Puna Geothermal Venture wells within several hours.

Advancing lava that had been moving toward the deactivated wells Saturday eased up this morning but then picked up around midday. As of about 3 p.m. the lava was estimated to be within just a few feet of the first of three production wells, each of which are about 100 feet apart.

Ige said safety preparations to quench the wells, essentially plugging them deep below the surfact and sealing valves designed to withstand the heat from lava are expected to prevent any release of dangerous hydrogen sulfide gas.

Michael Kaleikini, PGV’s director of Hawaii affairs, said he is exponentially more confident that the wells are safe. He said the mitigation work, which also includes removing above-ground equipment on the wells and putting a layer of cinder into a pit that leads to each well, is something that the company does for maintenance. He also said it may be possible to reactivate the wells after the lava event is done even if the wells are all covered by lava.

The plant typically generates 25 percent of the electricity for Hawaii island.

Ige said there is constant monitoring for hydrogen sulfide gas, and if any were detected Hawaii County Civil Defense will put out an immediate alert using sirens, radio and going door to door to notify any residents in an affected area.

Ige though emphasized that a task force has been studying the situation and members do not believe that there will be any negative consequences to health and safety given the steps that have been taken.

“Lava Speeds Up, Takes Aim at Puna Geothermal Wells”
May 27, 2018, Honolulu Star-Advertiser
http://www.staradvertiser.com/2018/05/27/breaking-news/lava-speeds-up-takes-aim-at-puna-geothermal-wells/

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Lava covers well at Puna Geothermal Venture

Lava now covers a well at Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV); just one event in an active Sunday of eruptions in lower Puna.

In another area of Leilani Estates, lava fountains 200 feet in the air from an already active fissure, and another fissure opens up in the neighborhood.

Media has not yet been allowed into the geothermal plant but Hawaii county officials say they are monitoring the flow.

At least 20 employees are at the plant during the day. A spokesperson with PGV says they are confident there will be no explosions, and no releasing of toxic gases or chemicals from the interaction between the lava and PGV wells. PGV says all 11 wells are covered and cooled; lava is expected to pass right over them.

Governor David Ige assures, “If we felt there was a threat to the community from PGV we would inform them. We believe PGV is stable right now. The wells are quenched, and those closest to the lava flow have been quenched and plugged. Certainly, we believe that even should the lava approach and run over those well sites, it would be safe and there would be no emission of hydrogen sulfide.”

PVG Spokesperson Mike Kaleikini adds, “I just want to emphasize, from our perspective PGV doesn’t anticipate any compromise of the wells. We don’t anticipate any release of hydrogen sulfide from our geothermal wells.”

The flow of lava on PGV’s well site is fed from a fissure near Leilani Avenue and Luana Street. Sunday, that fissure spewed lava up to 200 feet into the air.

The next set of wells are in a different location about 500 yards away and at higher elevation.

“Lava covers well at Puna Geothermal Venture”
May 27, 2018, KITV
http://www.kitv.com/story/38288935/lava-covers-well-at-puna-geothermal-venture

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PGV Update by Mileka Lincoln

Trucks are on standby to off-load and haul 200,000 pounds of a mud-like substance designed to help contain any potential explosion of the Puna Geothermal Venture that just landed in Kona after being flown in by Pacific Air Cargo. Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Agency officials just confirmed that lava is covering one well that was successfully plugged on the PGV plant site and a second well is less than 100 feet away. They say both are stable and secured and being monitored. They say neither well is expected to release any hydrogen sulfide. At a press conference earlier today, Governor David Ige said lava encroaching upon the PGV plant site — even if it made contact with the well field — was not enough of a concern to public safety to trigger a mass mandatory evacuation. PGV officials maintain they believe they have mitigated the threat of an uncontrolled release of hydrogen sulfide if lava inundates their property and makes contact with their wells. Ten of the 11 wells were quenched — a process in which the well is injected with water to cool and depressurization it. An 11th well was plugged with bentonite clay after proving resistant to quenching efforts. We are told that mud-like substance is holding up and the pressure in the 11th well has stayed down. However, PGV officials have conceded they don’t know if hydrogen sulfide is the only possible hazard the community could face if lava interacts with their wells.

PGV Update by Mileka Lincoln
May 27, 2018, By Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now via Facebook

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PGV Update by Mileka Lincoln

“If we felt that there was a threat to the community from PGV, we would inform them. We believe that PGV is stable right now. The wells are quenched. Those that are closest to the lava flow have been quenched and plugged and so certainly we believe that even if the lava should approach and run over those well sites, that it would be safe — that there would be no emission of hydrogen sulfide,” said Governor David Ige during a press conference at the Hawai’i County Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Operations Center.

Governor David Ige say state officials believe that the site is stable and the public within the immediate vicinity is not in any imminent danger. Should a mass mandatory evacuation be needed, Ige says the Hawai’i County Civil Defense Agency is prepared at a moment’s notice to trigger an alert via tsunami sirens, radio broadcast and door-to-door visits. Ige says there has been consistent monitoring of hydrogen sulfide and officials have not detected any levels at this time.

Tom Travis with the Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency just reported that lava is believed to be crossing over the top of one of four wells on Pad E within Puna Geothermal Venture — and is potentially making contact right now with KS6. This same pad is also where KS3, KS5 and KS14 are located. KS14 as you may remember is the well that was resistant to quenching and required personnel to use a mud-like substance known as barite to plug the well to cool and depressurize it. PGV officials say they are confident the plug will work. Despite lava encroaching upon the PGV plant site, officials have decided not to order an evacuation of the area. PGV officials say they are confident the community is in no danger at this time.

PGV Update by Mileka Lincoln
May 27, 2018, By Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now via Facebook

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PGV Update by Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now

Tom Travis with the Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency just reported that lava is believed to be crossing over the top of one of four wells on Pad E within Puna Geothermal Venture — and is potentially making contact right now with KS6. This same pad is also where KS3, KS5 and KS14 are located. KS14 as you may remember is the well that was resistant to quenching and required personnel to use a mud-like substance known as barite to plug the well to cool and depressurize it. PGV officials say they are confident the plug will work. Despite lava encroaching upon the PGV plant site, officials have decided not to order an evacuation of the area. According to Governor David Ige, state officials believe that the site is stable and the public within the immediate vicinity is not in any imminent danger. Should a mass mandatory evacuation be needed, Ige says the Hawai’i County Civil Defense Agency is prepared at a moment’s notice to trigger an alert via tsunami sirens, radio broadcast and door-to-door visits. Ige says there has been consistent monitoring of hydrogen sulfide and officials have not detected any levels at this time. PGV officials say they are confident the community is in no danger at this time.

PGV Update by Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now
May 27, 2018, By Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now via Facebook

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Lava flow stalls, sparing Hawaii geothermal plant from more damage

A lava flow from Hawaii’s erupting Kilauea volcano that damaged a geothermal power station has stalled, as have lava fountains gushing 100 feet (30 meters) into the air, offering momentary relief to an area under siege for 25 days, officials said on Monday.

… Lava engulfed the heads of two wells that tap into steam and gas deep in the Earth’s core at the 38-megawatt Puna Geothermal Venture on Saturday. Its operator, Israeli-controlled Ormat Technologies Inc, said it had not been able to assess the damage.

Residents fear the wells may be explosive. 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.

The lava flow at PGV stalled on Monday, Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder said.

Ormat said the plant represented about 4.5 percent of its total generating capacity and that major damage or a shutdown could have an “adverse impact” on the company’s business.

Authorities have shut down the plant, removed 60,000 gallons (230,000 liters) of flammable liquid, and deactivated the wells.

“Lava flow stalls, sparing Hawaii geothermal plant from more damage”
May 27, 2018, By Jolyn Rosa, Reuters
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hawaii-volcano/lava-covers-potentially-explosive-well-at-hawaii-geothermal-plant-idUSKCN1IT0D8

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PGV Update by Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now

Pacific Air Cargo will operate a special flight with its Boeing 747-400 from Los Angeles to Kona today with approximately 200,000 lbs of a mud-like substance — believed to be bentonite clay — designed to help contain any potential explosion of the Puna Geothermal Venture.

Speaking from Kona where he flew to support the inbound charter, Pacific Air Cargo Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Thomas Ingram said, “ We have been closely watching the disturbing images coming out of the Big Island over the past three weeks and are grateful for this opportunity to support the relief efforts in any way we can.” Adding, “ To our many friends and customers there, we send our heartfelt best wishes and pray that you all continue stay safe.”

The last update from Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense agency officials at 10 AM said no wells have been impacted and a team is working to prevent threats from developing. No hydrogen sulfide has been detected. However, Civil Defense could not tell me what would trigger a mandatory mass evacuation of the area surrounding Puna Geothermal Venture — despite the fact lava has reached the 40 acres of their operational plant site and is approaching the well field.

Mike Kaleikini

At last check from PGV, spokesperson Mike Kaleikini said the nearest well is about 130 feet away.

“All of the production wells nearest to the lava flow are plugged and shut in. According to HVO scientists, movement is currently stalled. As long as conditions are safe, we will have personnel on site. 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. There are no hydrogen sulfide emissions from PGV wells,” said Kaleikini.

PGV officials maintain they believe they have mitigated the threat of an uncontrolled release of hydrogen sulfide if lava inundates their property and makes contact with their wells. Ten of the 11 wells were quenched — a process in which the well is injected with water to cool and depressurization it. An 11th well was plugged with bentonite clay after proving resistant to quenching efforts. We are told that mud-like substance is holding up and the pressure in the 11th well has stayed down. However, PGV officials have conceded they don’t know if hydrogen sulfide is the only possible hazard the community could face if lava interacts with their wells.

May 27, 2018, By Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now via Facebook

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PGV Update by Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now

Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense agency officials cannot tell me what would trigger a mandatory mass evacuation of the area surrounding Puna Geothermal Venture — despite the fact lava has reached the 40 acres of their operational plant site and is approaching the well field. Civil Defense officials say no wells have been impacted and a team is working to prevent threats from developing. At this time, no hydrogen sulfide has been detected.

I asked Civil Defense: “What would trigger a mass mandatory evacuation of the area?” We were sent this response: “If it becomes necessary for public safety. At that point, we will alert the public.” We followed up with these questions: “Can you explain what government officials have determined this threshold to be? It’s obviously not lava inundating PGV property, so can you clarify?” We were told there was no additional information beyond their statement.

We have since reached out to the Governor’s office for assistance and have confirmed Gov. David Ige will be returning to Puna this afternoon.

At last check at 7:30 AM, PGV spokesperson Mike Kaleikini said the nearest well was about 130 feet away from the lava flow front.

“All of the production wells nearest to the lava flow are plugged and shut in. According to HVO scientists, movement is currently stalled. As long as conditions are safe, we will have personnel on site. 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. There are no hydrogen sulfide emissions from PGV wells,” said Kaleikini.

Area residents signed up for Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Agency’s Blackboard messaging service just received this alert: “HVO reports lava flow in Leilani Estates crossed into PGV property overnight. County, State & Fed agencies continue to monitor Hydrogen Sulfide levels. No Hydrogen Sulfide has been detected.”

PGV officials maintain they believe they have mitigated the threat of an uncontrolled release of hydrogen sulfide if lava inundates their property and makes contact with their wells. Ten of the 11 wells were quenched — a process in which the well is injected with water to cool and depressurization it. An 11th well was plugged with bentonite clay after proving resistant to quenching efforts. We are told that mud-like substance is holding up and the pressure in the 11th well has stayed down. However, PGV officials have conceded they don’t know if hydrogen sulfide is the only possible hazard the community could face if lava interacts with their wells.

May 27, 2018, By Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now via Facebook

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Some Leilani Estates residents ordered to evacuate immediately

6:16 p.m.: Hawaii County Civil Defense reports that lava from fissures No. 7 and 21 have covered a geothermal production well at Puna Geothermal Venture.

That well, KS-6, along with a second well about 100 yards away have been “successfully plugged” and “are stable and secured, and are being monitored,” according to the agency’s 6 p.m. message.

“Also due to preventative measures, neither well is expected to release any hydrogen sulfide,” the message said.

4:18 p.m.: Lava from Kilauea volcano was within “a couple of feet” of a production well at Puna Geothermal Venture this afternoon, according to an official for the deactivated lower Puna powerplant.

“It was right next to the well when I spoke to the guys earlier at the location,” Mike Kaleikini, PGV’s senior director of Hawaii affairs said during the afternoon media briefing. “It looks like, if the flow continues, that it will probably cover the well.”

Kaleikini said he doesn’t “anticipate any compromise of the well’s mechanical integrity.”

“We don’t anticipate any emissions of H2S (hydrogen sulfide) from our geothermal wells,” he said.

Kaleikini’s assessment was shared by Gov. David Ige, who was on hand for the briefing and Tom Travis, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Director and head of a task force set up by Ige.

“We have worked to make the wells safe and mitigate any hazard in the community,” Travis said. He said he thought lava was “approaching or in contact with well KS-6 as we speak.”

Kaleikini said there are three production wells and an injection well are on well pad E, which includes KS-14, which workers were unable to quench. All the wells have been plugged with a master valve topped with cinder, according to Travis. KS-14 was plugged with a clay-like substance called barite, Kaleikini said.

Kaleikini said there are two other well pads which are at a higher elevation and one well on another pad, KS-9, which still displays activity “at a lower pressure” than KS-14.

“We’ve got a pretty good handle on that. We’re getting ready to put a plug in that, also.

“… I just want to emphasize from our perspective, PGV and (parent company) Ormat, that we don’t anticipate any compromise of the wells’ mechanical integrity. We don’t anticipate any emissions of H2S from our geothermal wells,” he said.

12:47 p.m.: Steve Brantley, deputy scientist-in-charge at Hawaiian Volcano observatory, said the lava flow on Puna Geothermal Venture property appears to have stopped advancing.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported this morning that a lava flow in Leilani Estates crossed overnight into Puna Geothermal Venture property.

David Mace of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said the lava is on the 40 acres of the 815-acre property that house the geothermal wells and the deactivated powerplant.

“At this time, the lava is, at various points, 200 yards from active wells,” Mace said. He added that PGV employees are still on the property and have not been evacuated.

According to Hawaii County Civil Defense, no hydrogen sulfide gas has been detected at the site and a special task force headed by Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Chief Tom Travis continues to work to make the wells safe and to prevent any threats to the public from developing.

Lava flow crossed into PGV property overnight but has not impacted any wells.

A new fissure, No. 24 is also reported by HVO, in Leilani Estates between Kupono and Nohea streets. The fissure is not threatening any property, according to Civil Defense.

Volcanic gases and vog emissions may increase in areas downwind of the Lower East Rift Zone lava vents. Areas among Kamaili Road are experiencing elevated levels of sulfur dioxide, Civil Defense said.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation reports they are lowering the speed limit on Highway 130 between Leilani Estates and Kamaili Road to 25 miles per hour as a safety measure because of steel plates installed over cracks caused by volcanic activity.

“Some Leilani Estates residents ordered to evacuate immediately”
Sunday, May 27, 2018, By John Burnett, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2018/05/27/hawaii-news/fresh-lava-within-200-yards-of-active-well-at-pgv/

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Lava flow reaches Puna Geothermal property

May 27, 10 am

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported a new fissure this morning. Fissure 24 is between Kupono and Nohea streets in Leilani Estates. It’s not threatening any structures at this time.

The lava flow that crossed onto the Puna Geothermal Venture property has not impacted any wells. No hydrogen sulfide has been detected.

May 27, 6:30 a.m.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said a lava flow in Leilani Estates crossed onto the Puna Geothermal Venture property overnight.

No hyrodgen sulfide has been detected as county, state and federal agencies are monitoring levels.

Volcanic gases and vog emissions may increase in areas down wind of the vents. Portions of Kamalii Road are experiencing elevated levels of sulfur dioxide.

May 26, 6 p.m.

The lava flow in Leilani Estates has crossed Pohoiki Road slightly north of the HGPA site, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports.

The flows to the south continue to enter the ocean near MacKenzie State Park. Lava is now covering 2,372 acres.

Halemaumau crater is also letting out small bursts of volcanic ash, which is slowly being pushed downwind, southwest into the Kau District.

Volcanic gases, vog and ash emissions may increase in areas down wind of the vents. Areas along Kamalii Road are experiencing elevated levels of sulfur dioxide.

Due to the volcanic activity, ash fallout may cause poor driving conditions. Residents nearby must remain alert to changes in the flow direction, and are advised to prepare for evacuation if their areas become threatened.

“Lava flow reaches Puna Geothermal property”
May 27, 2018, Honolulu Star-Advertiser
http://www.staradvertiser.com/2018/05/26/breaking-news/kilauea-volcano-updates-may-27/

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PGV Update by Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now

Puna Geothermal Venture officials just confirmed lava has reached a portion of the 40 acres of their operational plant site. PGV spokesperson Mike Kaleikini says the nearest well is about 130 feet away.

“All of the production wells nearest to the lava flow are plugged and shut in. According to HVO scientists, movement is currently stalled. As long as conditions are safe, we will have personnel on site. 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. There are no hydrogen sulfide emissions from PGV wells,” said Kaleikini.

Area residents signed up for Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Agency’s Blackboard messaging service just received this alert: “HVO reports lava flow in Leilani Estates crossed into PGV property overnight. County, State & Fed agencies continue to monitor Hydrogen Sulfide levels. No Hydrogen Sulfide has been detected.”

I have reached out to Civil Defense officials to clarify with the following questions, but have not yet heard back:
1. Are there any additional evacuations as a result of lava making its way onto the plant property?
2. What would trigger a mass mandatory evacuation of the area?

PGV officials maintain they believe they have mitigated the threat of an uncontrolled release of hydrogen sulfide if lava inundates their property and makes contact with their wells. Ten of the 11 wells were quenched — a process in which the well is injected with water to cool and depressurization it. An 11th well was plugged with bentonite clay after proving resistant to quenching efforts. We are told that mud-like substance is holding up and the pressure in the 11th well has stayed down. However, PGV officials have conceded they don’t know if hydrogen sulfide is the only possible hazard the community could face if lava interacts with their wells.

May 27, 2018, By Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now via Facebook

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PGV Update by Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now

Area residents signed up for Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Agency’s Blackboard messaging service just received this alert: “HVO reports lava flow in Leilani Estates crossed into PGV property overnight. County, State & Fed agencies continue to monitor Hydrogen Sulfide levels. No Hydrogen Sulfide has been detected.”

I have reached out to Civil Defense and Puna Geothermal Venture officials to clarify with the following questions, but have not yet heard back:
1. Does this mean lava has reached the 40 acres which PGV officials define as their operational plant site?
2. Do you know how close the flow is to the well field?
3. Has PGV evacuated its personnel?
4. Are there any additional evacuations as a result of lava making its way onto the plant property?
5. How often will hydrogen sulfide levels be checked? 6. What would trigger a mass mandatory evacuation of the area?

PGV officials maintain they believe they have mitigated the threat of an uncontrolled release of hydrogen sulfide — a deadly gas — if lava inundates their property and makes contact with their wells. Ten of the 11 wells were quenched — a process in which the well is injected with water to cool and depressurization it. An 11th well was plugged with bentonite clay after proving resistant to quenching efforts. We are told that mud-like substance is holding up and the pressure in the 11th well has stayed down. However, PGV officials have conceded they don’t know if hydrogen sulfide is the only possible hazard the community could face if lava interacts with their wells.

Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now via Facebook
May 27, 2018

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Another access point threatened: More lava entering PGV property, closing in on Highway 132

Residents watch lava fountain on Hookupu Street on Saturday in Leilani Estates.

HILO — Another lava flow crossed Pohoiki Road on Saturday, potentially putting Highway 132 in jeopardy.

Talmadge Magno, Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator, said the flow was being fed by two fissures in Leilani Estates and was moving to the northeast. He said it was entering Puna Geothermal Venture’s property but he didn’t think it was going straight toward any well pads.

“We’re pretty confident they are safe,” he said regarding the geothermal wells, all but one of which have been quenched.

“If it went onto the wells I’d think we’d be fine. It’s going to possibly hit PGV property but the wells are in a different direction.”

Magno said the ‘a‘a flow was moving slowly and it’s unclear how soon it could reach the highway if it continues on its path.

“We’re making sure our messaging to the public is making them aware that this could possibly happen,” he said.

“We’ll probably be losing another access point out of the lower Puna area.”

Lava already has crossed Pohoiki Road more than once downhill and lava ocean entries are making Highway 137 along the coast impassable.

If Highway 132 is severed, residents to the east of the fissure line would have to rely on Government Beach Road and go through Hawaiian Beaches or Hawaiian Shores subdivisions.

Tina Neal, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist-in-charge, said one lobe from that flow was moving at 30 yards an hour, but she emphasized to take that with a “grain of salt” because flow rates are variable and different fingers of lava move at different rates.

She said sulfur dioxide levels remain high and a change in wind patterns could cause more communities to be impacted by volcanic gas after today. Weaker winds also might mean more ashfall around the summit region as explosive eruptions continue about twice a day, with smaller emissions in between.

One eruption sent ash between 12,000 and 13,000 feet above sea level on Saturday.

Wendy Stovall, a U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist, said the caldera at the summit has subsided 5 feet as the magma column withdraws in response to the lower Puna eruption on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone. That subsidence allows ground water to infiltrate the magma column, helping create steam explosions.

Seismic activity remains high in the summit region with between 250 and 270 quakes occurring within a 24-hour period, she said.

Neal said there is some debate among geologists about how much steam is contributing to the eruptions, some of which are caused by rockfalls and volcanic gas.

Highway 130 remains open to residents at the 14-mile marker because of steaming ground cracks. The state Department of Transportation put plates over the cracks, which are withstanding temperatures as high as 130 degrees.

Still, geologists say they are not seeing signs of an imminent eruption at that site.

That could be indicated by hydrogen sulfide being detected, which would be a result of magma moving up through the water table.

Stovall said in an email Saturday that hydrogen sulfide hasn’t been detected, and the cracks are checked regularly.

“There is carbon dioxide and water vapor,” she said. “The smell that people are reporting is likely from carbonyl sulfide and a mix of other light organics that come from vegetation reaching temperatures higher than their normal point of stasis.”

Two U.S. Marine Corps helicopters are stationed at Hilo International Airport until Monday, along with a crew of 17 Marines, in case of evacuations.

Their mission could be extended, according to Maj. Jeff Hickman of the Hawaii National Guard, who said there are other helicopters, including three HH-60 Pave Hawks, that are available in Hilo.

Neal said the rate of lava entering the ocean at two entry points between Pohoiki and MacKenzie beach parks has decreased. In Leilani, lava from fissure 7 was pumping out a lot of pahoehoe lava and forming a lava pond.

“Of course when it ponds it has the ability to drain rapidly in one direction and move quickly,” Neal said.

Stovall said a lava tube appeared to have been forming on one of the ocean entries, which could keep the flow insulated.

Since the eruption began May 3 on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone, 82 structures have been destroyed with 41 of those confirmed to be homes. Lava has covered almost 2,400 acres.

“Another access point threatened: More lava entering PGV property, closing in on Highway 132”
Sunday, May 27, 2018, By Tom Callis, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/2018/05/27/hawaii-news/another-access-point-threatened-more-lava-entering-pgv-property-closing-in-on-highway-132/

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Another access point threatened: More lava entering PGV property, closing in on Highway 132

Another lava flow crossed Pohoiki Road on Saturday, potentially putting Highway 132 in jeopardy.

Talmadge Magno, Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator, said the flow was being fed by two fissures in Leilani Estates and was moving to the northeast. He said it was entering Puna Geothermal Venture’s property but he didn’t think it was going straight toward any well pads.

“We’re pretty confident they are safe,” he said regarding the geothermal wells, all but one of which have been quenched.

“If it went onto the wells I’d think we’d be fine. It’s going to possibly hit PGV property but the wells are in a different direction.”

“Another access point threatened: More lava entering PGV property, closing in on Highway 132”
May 26, 2018, By Tom Callis, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2018/05/26/hawaii-news/another-access-point-threatened-more-lava-entering-pgv-property-closing-in-on-highway-132/

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PGV Update by Mileka Lincoln

I just spoke with Puna Geothermal Venture officials who tell me the lava flow that crossed Pohoiki Road today south of the Y-interchange and northeast of Leilani Avenue heading west from Leilani Estates has NOT reached the 40 acres of their operational plant site, but appears to be heading that way. PGV officials tell me the estimate the front of the flow is still about 250 yards from their well field. They still have plant personnel on site 24/7 to monitor conditions and there has been no detected hydrogen sulfide at this time.

PGV officials maintain they believe they have mitigated the threat of an uncontrolled release of hydrogen sulfide if lava inundates their property and makes contact with their wells. Ten of the 11 wells were quenched — a process in which the well is injected with water to cool and depressurization it. An 11th well was plugged with bentonite clay after proving resistant to quenching efforts. We are told that mud-like substance is holding up and the pressure in the 11th well has stayed down.

However, PGV officials have conceded they don’t know if hydrogen sulfide is the only possible hazard the community could face if lava interacts with their wells. Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Agency officials say according to steepest lines of descent topography maps, experts believe the flow in this area should start turning towards the north and possibly make its way to Highway 132 if it’s has enough volume. Civil Defense crews in the field are helping people evacuate and prepare for the possibility Highway 132 will be cut off. At this point, they say that’s a mile away and it could take time to cover that much ground at the current speed it’s moving.

PGV Update
May 26, 2018, by Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now via Facebook

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Video: Lava Flowing Towards Puna Geothermal Venture

This video just came in from Domonic Jones who was checking on his family’s property. The camera pans over from #LeilaniEstates where the flow has traveled from Kahukai and the footage ends with him facing toward Kapoho. Jones estimates the flow front is 200 feet from Pohoiki Road south of the Y-interchange and northeast of Leilani Avenue heading in the direction of Puna Geothermal Venture when this was taken. Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Agency officials have just confirmed it has since crossed the road.

According to steepest lines of descent topography maps, experts believe the flow in this area should start turning towards the north and possibly make its way to Highway 132 if it’s has enough volume. Civil Defense crews in the field are helping people evacuate and prepare for the possibility Highway 132 will be cut off. At this point, they say that’s a mile away and it could take time to cover that much ground at the current speed it’s moving. We are still waiting to hear back from Puna Geothermal Venture officials.

Video by Domonic Jones via Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now, via Facebook
May 26, 2018

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New lava flow crosses onto Hawaii geothermal plant property

A broad lava flow crossed onto the property of a Hawaii geothermal power station on Saturday, posing a new hazard as molten rock from the erupting Kilauea volcano bulldozed relentlessly through homes and backyards.

The lava crossed onto the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) Saturday evening local time, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, having destroyed dozens of nearby houses in the past few days.

Since Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano began a once-in-a-century-scale eruption May 3, authorities have shutdown the plant, removed 60,000 gallons of flammable liquid and deactivated wells that tap into steam and gas deep in the Earth’s core.

Magma has drained from Kilauea’s summit lava lake and flowed around 25 miles (40 km) east underground, bursting out of about two dozen giant cracks or fissures near the plant.

“The flow from fissures 21 and 7 was widening and advancing,” Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for the County of Hawaii, said in an email on the position of lava heading northeast toward PGV at 12:30 p.m.

Hawaii Governor David Ige has said the wells are stable.

But 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. Local residents fear an explosive emission of deadly hydrogen sulfide and other gases should wells be ruptured.

270 EARTHQUAKES IN ONE DAY

Residents have complained of health hazards from emissions from the plant since it went online in 1989 and PGV has been the target of lawsuits challenging its location on the flank of one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

The Israeli-owned 38 megawatt plant typically provides around 25 percent of electricity on the Big Island, according to local power utility Hawaii Electric Light.

Operator Ormat Technologies Inc (ORA.N) last week said there was no above-ground damage to the plant but it would have to wait until the situation stabilized to assess the impact of earthquakes and subterranean lava flows on the wells.

In just the past 24 hours there were between 250 and 270 earthquakes at Kilauea’s summit, with four explosions on Saturday sending ash to altitudes as high as 12,000-15,000 feet, said Stovall and National Weather Service meteorologist John Bravender.

Winds are set to shift on Monday and Tuesday, causing higher concentrations of ash and volcanic smog that will spread west and northwest to affect more populated areas, Bravender said.

U.S. Marine Corp and National Guard helicopters are on standby for an air evacuation in the event fissure activity cuts off Highway 130, the last exit route for up to 1,000 coastal residents.

Cracks in the highway have yet to emit hydrogen sulfide gas which would indicate magma was rising toward the surface, Stovall said.

“New lava flow crosses onto Hawaii geothermal plant property”
May 26, 2018, By Jolyn Rosa, Reuters
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hawaii-volcano/new-lava-flow-crosses-onto-hawaii-geothermal-plant-property-idUSKCN1IR0QA

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No sign of increase or decrease in amount of lava; ash plumes persist

Three weeks into the lower Puna eruption, volcanic activity remains high but stable along Kilauea’s East Rift Zone.

“There’s no indication the volume of what’s coming out of the ground will increase or decrease right now,” said Wendy Stovall, a U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist.

“It seems like a steady state up there and at the summit, too.”

Copious amounts of lava continued to pour out of fissures Thursday from Leilani Estates through Lanipuna Gardens to the northeast, with at least two rivers of lava entering the ocean to the south. The ocean entries are located between Pohoiki and MacKenzie beach parks and have covered a portion of Highway 137.

Since its start May 3, the lower Puna eruption has destroyed about 50 structures and covered more than 1,700 acres. About 2,000 people have been evacuated, mainly in Leilani and Lanipuna, both located on the rift zone.

Kilauea has been erupting almost continuously for 35 years. Between January 1983 and January 2018, lava destroyed 215 structures, mostly in Kalapana or the former Royal Gardens subdivision, and covered 56 square miles.

At the summit, numerous ash plumes continue to be emitted. One plume reached 10,000 feet above sea level Thursday evening. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains closed.

Ash has been falling over communities in Ka‘u, and a special weather statement remains in place over that district.

The majority of the park had been closed for 14 days as of Thursday, said spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane. Only the Kahuku unit near Ocean View remains open. The closure began due to increased seismic activity and threat of explosive eruptions.

She said no employees have been laid off, and staff are working as much as they can from home or other locations. Crews also are continuing to make repairs to water lines and other infrastructure damaged by recent earthquakes.

The closure of one of Hawaii Island’s major attractions is costing the overall economy. Ferracane estimated the island has lost $6.5 million so far, based on a 2017 park economic impact study.

In 2013, the park closed for 16 days due to a shutdown of the federal government.

In lower Puna, lava had not progressed any closer toward the geothermal wells at Puna Geothermal Venture.

Jim Kauahikaua, a Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geophysicist, noted that the minimal seismic activity on the rift zone shows that the magma intrusion in the area is stable.

“The intrusion is not expanding the rift zone anymore,” he said. “And that just means that the rocks that the intrusion has pushed into are now elastically relaxed around it.

“There’s no more deformation (at the rift zone). At the summit, it’s still deflating or still subsiding.”

Kauahikaua said heat continues to be detected under steel plates placed over ground cracks on Highway 130 between Leilani and Kalapana. The cracks, some of which are emitting steam, were noticed a few weeks ago in an area where the highway crosses the rift zone.

He said he doesn’t know if the heat level is increasing at all, and the cracks still don’t appear to be emitting sulfur dioxide, which could indicate an eruption.

But officials aren’t ruling out the possibility of a fissure forming there.

Tim Sakahara, state Department of Transportation spokesman, said the metal plates are holding up.

“We are aware that conditions can change at any moment’s notice,” he said.

But DOT plans to keep that highway, a lifeline for residents, open as long as possible. Contingency plans include filling cracks or adding additional heat-resistant plates.

“Fortunately, at this point, we haven’t had to use those in addition to the steel plates,” Sakahara said. “We are working toward that end.”

A community meeting on the eruption will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Pahoa High School.

Hawaii County said in a news release that bus route No. 3 to Pahoa will be reinstated today. No bus routes are available to Pohoiki, Seaview or Leilani.

“No sign of increase or decrease in amount of lava; ash plumes persist”
May 25, 2018, By Tom Callis, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2018/05/25/hawaii-news/no-sign-of-increase-or-decrease-in-amount-of-lava-ash-plumes-persist/

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PGV Update by Mileka Lincoln

While we wait for the next update from Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Agency officials, here’s what we’ve confirmed with Puna Geothermal Venture officials in the last day regarding their efforts to mitigate the threat of hydrogen sulfide release from their wells should their plant be inundated with lava. According to PGV, lava still has not reached the 40 acres of their property where they produce geothermal energy. They maintain their well field is “essentially safe”, though they admit they don’t know with certainty that the only threat the public could face would be the uncontrollable release of deadly gas.

Puna Geothermal Update
May 24, 2018, by Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now via Facebook

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Fissure map shows lava nearing ocean, PGV remains stable

Lava flow activity in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivision continues.

The middle portion of the fissure system where the triangles are red, has the most lava activity in the Lower East Rift Zone.

The lava flow is represented by an orange region, and the most active fissure right now is number 22.

The lava from this fissure has crossed up into the Puna Geothermal Venture property, which is highlighted in the lighter yellow area. Officials say the lava in the PGV area remains stable and has not gone up any further into the property.

Crews are on site monitoring the air quality in the region.

Meanwhile, the lava is mainly still flowing in the southeast direction all the way to the ocean. The flows are converging and hitting the ocean just north of the Mackenzie State Park area. The actual point of entry has continued shifting to the west.

There are now two ocean entry points that produce occasional small explosions.

“Fissure map shows lava nearing ocean, PGV remains stable”
May 24, 2018, By Lindsey Fukano, KITV
http://www.kitv.com/story/38274406/fissure-map-shows-lava-nearing-ocean-pgv-remains-stable

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