Lava Enters Hawaii Power Plant, Risking Deadly Gas Release

Lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano entered the grounds of a nearby geothermal power facility Monday, threatening the plant’s sealed-off wells and potentially triggering a catastrophic explosion and an “uncontrolled release of hydrogen sulfide or other potentially dangerous volcanic gases,” the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports. Workers were particularly concerned about a deep geothermal well that was difficult to seal off as lava advanced within a few hundred yards of a well pad area. Facility employees have been attempting to “quench” the wells—or pumping cold water into them to trap the gases—but the contents of one close to the lava were heating up despite their efforts. The plant itself has been shut down since the volcano erupted on May 3, but fissures with “fountaining” as high as 140 feet appeared just south of the plant in recent days.