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Why blue flames are burning through cracks in the pavement as a volcano erupts in Hawaii

Why blue flames are burning through cracks in the pavement as a volcano erupts in Hawaii
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The volcano produces methane when hot lava buries and burns plants and trees. The gas flows through the ground and up through existing cracks.

U.S. Geological Survey scientist Jim Kauahikaua (COW-ah-hee-COW-ah) told reporters it’s just the second time he’s ever seen blue flames during an eruption. He says it was dramatic and eerie.

The methane can seep through cracks several feet away from the lava.

Geological Survey scientist Wendy Stovall says the methane can cause explosions when it’s ignited while trapped underground. Blasts can toss rocks several feet.

Scientists say the Kilauea volcano isn’t letting up on its three weeks of wild activity. Besides the airborne shards of glass and acid formed when lava hits seawater, explosions at the summit are shooting up plumes of ash.

Ash is drifting onto communities downwind.

Most of Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park has been closed for two weeks over concerns about rocks that fall during the explosive eruptions.

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