Lava reaches area of geothermal power station in Hawaii

Livestream video captured active lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano in lower Puna, Hawaii, on May 28.

Tourism officials say Hawaii's Big Island has lost about $3 million for May, June and July as major cruise lines have canceled planned stops because of an erupting volcano.

Operator Ormat Technologies Inc 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.

A fresh blast from the crater of Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano has sent an ash plume more than four kilometres into the sky. Fissure 7 activity increased overnight, with lava fountains reaching 150-200 feet high and producing a large spatter rampart over 100 feet tall.

Civil defense officials said lava breached property belonging to the Puna Geotherma Venture, a geothermal power plant on Hawai'i Island - also known as the Big Island. Fissure 24 opened up Sunday, nearly four weeks since lava began flowing May 3.

Infrared images reveal damage on Hawaii's Big Island
Lava from Hawaii's volcano reaches local geothermal plant - Xinhua |

Officials previously moved 50,000 gallons of potentially toxic gas offsite and capped the wells on the property to prevent releases of additional gas if lava enters the wells. He says officials used property records to determine which structures are homes because it can be hard to tell from aerial surveys. At this time there is no hydrogen sulfide detected.

Magma is draining underground from a sinking lava lake at Kilauea's 4,091-foot (1,247-meter) summit before flowing around 25 miles (40 km) east and bursting from giant cracks, with two flows reaching the ocean just over three miles (5 km) distant.

Those living in communities southwest of the Kilauea volcano are warned that wind might carry ash their way after the eruption Thursday night.

At least 82 homes have been completely destroyed since the first eruption over a month ago, forcing more than 2000 people to flee the area.

  • Rogelio Becker