February 07, 2019

Mysterious blue flames spouting from Hawaiian volcano explained

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The volcano erupted a month ago, but the lava is still flowing on the island.

Kilauea volcano in Hawaii blew its top on May 3, 2018. Over a month later, the lava and other effects of the eruption are still continuing, displacing more and more people every day. 

Most recently, blue flames have started appearing among the flowing lava on the island, a rare phenomenon that led to some confusion. 

According to a report by Time Magazine, the blue flames are caused by burning methane. 

The methane has been created by the lava burning and burying plants, and the heat from the molten rock is igniting the methane which bursts through the cooled lava. 


“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.


Images have emerged of the blue flames that were burning near the Leilani Estates neighborhood that had to be evacuated shortly after the eruption. 

If the methane does end up trapped under the ground, it can even cause explosions if it is ignited and cannot find a way out. These explosions can cause massive blasts for blocks. 


2,000 people were ordered to evacuate the Leilani Estates on May 3 when the volcano erupted. So far, more than 50 buildings have been destroyed, and one person was seriously injured when they were hit by a falling piece of lava. 

More than 20 vents have opened in the ground since the eruption, and lava, sulfur dioxide, and steam are being released through these. Lava has been flowing into the ocean from the volcano.