On Tuesday night May 22, an amazing phenomenon happened that is rarely seen ever during a volcanic explosion. Strange blue flames shot out from the ground, eerily creating a blue glow on the ground on Hawaii’s Big Island. The blue flames only happen when many factors of a volcanic explosion come together all at once. It just so happens that this time on the big island, these factors were combined.
First, the red-hot lava seeps over, burying all forms of plants and shrubbery under it, but the burning vegetation produces methane. Methane is a completely colorless gas, but when it burns, it turns blue!
What happens is that when methane is heated it up, it starts to seep through the cracks and the holes below the surface. Here the feat was caught on camera in the Kahukai street in the suburban area of Leilani Estates. It was quite a dangerous problem because methane can actually explode, luckily on this occasion it only burned creating these blue flames. Something that looks like it is in a new sci-fi movie. The flames burnt out of the holes in the roads, a couple of meters away from the hot lave, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
“It’s very dramatic. It’s very eerie,” Jim Kauahikaua, a USGS scientist,
The scientist mentioned that it is very rare and only the second time he has seen this in his whole career. In fact, due to the explosion over 2000 people have been evacuated from Leilani Estates and all the surrounding neighborhoods. The Kilauea volcano has been erupting since early May, pouring lava out of multiple fissures and releasing deadly volcanic gas. The area is being coated in sulfur dioxide, a very harmful substance.
An unlucky man was even hit by a bomb of lava, a football-sized chunk of lava that flew out of the volcano, though he made it out alive. The eruption has been the cause of the destruction of over 50 buildings. Though it is a catastrophic natural disaster we can only hope it will give scientists more information and understanding on volcanic eruptions for the future.