Kilauea volcano eruption in Hawaii rains down drama, destruction

Man hit by flying molten rock hospitalized

Nighttime photos released by the US Geological Survey were taken in the Leilani Estates neighbourhood where the volcano has been sending up lava through vents in the ground. "The air quality has been so bad that everybody has been walking around with a (dust) mask".

Workers are capping the 11th and last well at the plant to prevent toxic gases from wafting out after lava entered, then stalled, on the property near one of the new volcanic vents.

A fine layer of brownish-gray ash coated vehicles and other surfaces, and an ash plume rising from the volcano summit was visible in the distance through the hazy air.

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Two thousand people have been ordered from their homes due to lava flows and toxic sulfur dioxide gas.

One potential hazard that appeared to have been brought under control was at the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) plant, which provides about a quarter of the Big Island's electricity.

Scientists say the methane can seep through cracks several feet away from the lava. Officials are concerned that "laze", a unsafe product produced when hot lava hits cool ocean water, will affect residents.

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It knocked him backward on the third-floor porch 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. Laze, a word combination of lava and haze, contains hydrochloric acid steam along with volcanic glass particles. Lava emerging from the vents has destroyed dozens of homes. Although potentially fatal if inhaled, Stovall said the danger was confined to the immediate vicinity of laze plumes themselves.

A man named Darryl Clinton was left seriously injured after being hit by a lava bomb while he was sitting in his porch at the weekend, according to Hawaii County Civil Defence Administrator Talmadge Magno.

"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.

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