PHOTO, VIDEO UPDATE: Methane Flames Flare Up in Leilani Estates Street
A blue burning flame of methane gas was observed in the cracks on Kahukai Street, during the overnight hours. VC:HVO/USGS
Activity continues in Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone as of Wednesday, May 23, 2018.
A blue burning flame of methane gas was observed in the cracks on Kahukai Street, during the overnight hours.
When hot lava buries plants and shrubs, methane gas is produced as a byproduct of burning vegetation.
Methane gas can seep into subsurface voids and explode when heated, or as shown in the image on the left, emerge from cracks in the ground several feet away from the lava.
When ignited, the methane produces a blue flame.
The fissure complex is visible in the upper center of the image.
Helicopter overflight of Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone shows the lava channel emerging from Fissure 22 (not visible, but to the center, far right of the image). The lava is flowing downhill, from right to left in the photo.