USGS: Don’t roast marshmallows over volcanic vents

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The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is warning people not to try to roast marshmallows over a volcano.

Officials ordered immediate evacuations Wednesday in an area overwhelmed by fast-moving lava from fissures caused by Hawaii's Mount Kilauea volcano.

Leilani Estates resident Steve Gebbie said he lost his home to lava Sunday night.

'If the vent is emitting a lot of SO2 or H2S, they would taste BAD.

The Hawaii Civil Defence Agency said the wells "are stable and secure", and Hawaii's Gov. David Ige said the plant was "sufficiently safe" from the lava that has plowed through backyards and streets and burned dozens of homes.

"Erm...we're going to have to say no, that's not safe", the USGS wrote on its verified Twitter account, urging users not to do this.

Earlier in the day, a small explosion of ash erupted from the summit of the volcano early in a vertical plume some 4600 metres high, the US Geological Survey said.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency officials that said around 8:30 a.m. that lava had already crossed over the access road and that all equipment and vehicles were moved from the property and everyone was evacuated.

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"The flow from fissures 21 and seven was widening and advancing", said Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for the County of Hawaii.

The Fissure 18 flow also remained active, moving downslope toward Highway 137 at rates of less than 100 yards per hour. The plugs protect against the release of gas that could turn toxic when mixed with lava.

NASA said the image couldn't be acquired until clouds cleared from the area just enough to see the lava.

Ormat Technologies, a Nevada company that owns the Puna Geothermal Venture plant, said it could not assess the extent of the damage to the wells.

Local residents fear an explosive emission of deadly hydrogen sulfide and other gases should wells be ruptured.

So far, the eruptions have been responsible for one injury, but no deaths.

US Marine Corp and National Guard helicopters are on standby for an air evacuation in the event fissure activity cuts off Highway 130, the last exit route for up to 1,000 coastal residents.

Since the first outbreak happened more than three weeks ago, lava has claimed at least 92 structures in lower Puna (including 41 homes) and covered some 2,400 acres in lower Puna (or about 3.8 square miles).

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