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According to the description released Wednesday by the USGS, the blue flames seen near the Leilani Estates subdivision on the Big Island are methane gas that emerged from cracks in the ground near the lava.

Scientists in Hawaii have captured rare images of blue flames burning from cracks in the pavement as the Kilauea volcano gushes fountains of lava in the background, offering insight into a new dimension in the volcano's weeks-long eruption.

Scientists said Tuesday that lava from the volcano was causing "fireworks-like explosions" as it entered the ocean.

Lava flows into the ocean near Pahoa, Hawaii.

"Residents in the affected area should be prepared to take leave of the area with little notice due to gas or lava inundation", the bulletin said. Laze plumes travel with the wind and can shift directions without warning, the county civil defence agency said.

Ige said transportation officials are "also looking at other alternative routes and trying to decide what would make the most sense in terms of providing safe passage".

It knocked him backward on the third-floor lanai of his neighbour's home on the eastern end of the Big Island, where most people had evacuated amid three weeks of heightened volcanic activity on Kilauea.

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These satellite images show how lava has seared neighborhoods in Hawaii
A plume of red ash rose from the volcano's Pu'u 'O'o vent high into the sky over the island, according to photos on social media. Fissure 17, which had put out a flow more than a mile toward the ocean, has not advanced since Tuesday, they said.

The lava flows themselves were usually slow enough to be avoided, he said. The nearby Gemini Observatory in Hilo, Hawaii, captured a time-lapse glimpse at Kilauea from Monday night into Tuesday morning as the light from the volcano and its almost two-dozen fissures beamed through the clouds. The plant provides 25 percent of the electricity to the Big Island.

Jim Kauahikaua, a geophysicist with Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said heat is being detected from under the metal plates on Highway 130 and cracks nearby continue to steam, but there doesn't appear to be any sulfur dioxide coming from the ground in that area, where the highway crosses the rift zone.

Officials shut down Puna Geothermal shortly after the current eruption began.

Officials also said that crews had remained on the scene monitoring for gas releases and had detected no sign of hydrogen sulfide, a flammable and extremely risky gas. One person suffered a leg injury after being struck by a "lava bomb".

The methane can cause explosions when it's trapped underground as well.

Meantime, Kilauea's summit has continued to send up frequent ash emissions, with one plume rising more than 1 mile into the sky Wednesday, reports USGS. Blasts could toss rocks several feet.


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