Wednesday, May 9, 2018

USA, Hawaii: Puna Geothermal Venture Power Plant is Safe from Lava - for Now

More volcanic fissures open; Lanipuna Gardens told to evacuate (West Hawaii Today)

Two more volcanic fissures were confirmed in Leilani Estates Tuesday, with a possible third reported near several other vents.

After about a day of inactivity, the 13th fissure in the subdivision opened Tuesday afternoon, near the intersection of Leilani Avenue and Kahukai Street, near where the fifth fissure opened last week. Shortly thereafter, a 14th fissure opened between Kaupili and Hookupu Streets, not far from the site of the third fissure.

No significant lava flow was reported from the new fissures, said Talmadge Magno, director of Hawaii County Civil Defense. For now, therefore, the Puna Geothermal Venture power plant is safe from lava.

PGV has been the source of much concern due to the presence of approximately 60,000 gallons of pentane at the facility.

Pentane, which is commonly vaporized and used to spin turbines at geothermal plants, thanks to its low boiling point, is extremely flammable, and its proximity to a potentially flowing mass of molten rock is worrisome to many on social media.

Magno said steps are being taken to remove the pentane from PGV within the coming days.