Methane gas is produced as a byproduct when hot lava buried plants and shrubs, which can then seep into cracks and create blue flames when it ignites, according to USGS.
In fact, if you look at a map from the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, you can see that the lava flow doesn't even take up the whole eastern corner of the Big Island.
Living on the slopes of one of the world's most active volcanoes meant it was hardly their first brush with lava, Clinton would later say. Crews worked into the night to cap the 11th and final well at the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) plant, which provides about 25 percent of the Big Island's power. About 23 lava vents have opened in the weeks since as well, shooting sulfur dioxide gas into the air.
Stovall said lava spatter from one of the vents was forming a wall that was helping protect a nearby geothermal plant.
Ten wells at Puna Geothermal were "quenched", which cools them with cold water, and the last was plugged with mud. Lava has burned and buried more than a dozen homes in the community, and 1,700 people have fled.
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Laze occurs when hot lava meets the ocean, sending a plume of hydrochloric acid and steam, along with fine glass particles, into the air.
Kilauea rumbled back to life on May 3 as it began extruding lava and sulphur dioxide emissions through a series of fissures, marking the latest phase of an eruption cycle that has continued almost non-stop for 35 years. The caustic plume, which can be fatal if inhaled, is the latest hazard in an eruption that shows no signs of stopping.
"The methane gas will flow through the ground, through the cracks that are already existing, and will come up wherever there's a place for them to come up", said Wendy Stovall, a scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey.
At least 44 homes and other structures have been destroyed, and a man was seriously injured on Saturday when a chunk of lava shot out of a fissure and struck him in the leg. The Hawaii National Guard has warned of more mandatory evacuations if more highways are blocked.