Hawaii’s geothermal power plant is about to be overwhelmed by geothermal power.

Posted: May 29, 2018 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics, volcanos

Nature is awesome.


  1. Jamie Spry says:

    Incredible. Check the height of that lava flow!

  2. Paul Vaughan says:

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  3. Bloke down the pub says:

    In Iceland, they’ve used high pressure hoses to cool the leading edge of a flow in order to divert it. Wonder why they couldn’t do that here?

  4. BoyfromTottenham says:

    Easy, the water in Hawaii is not cold enough!

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    The lava is at 2000 degrees. The difference between 35 F and 80 F water is not relevant. It is the heat of vaporization that matters (many times higher) and the “about room temperature” to 1000 degree steam that matters.

    They very well could use water to have diverted the flow. It would harden the leading edge and then the lava would just flow to wherever was lower. The problems:

    That’s a low water area. So would need pumper trucks and hoses from the ocean to there. Don’t think they have that much hose…

    The flow is Very Very Large: It would take a LOT of water. One hose from the ocean will not be enough…

    Most likely the roads to the area, and to the ocean, are not longer passable anyway. If they are, then for how long? Hope you don’t mind losing a few fire trucks that MUST be downhill from the lava flow to pump water from the ocean to it…

    Cooled lava forms a modestly insulating rock. You can get a thin section “frozen”. IF you have a wall of lava 15 feet high, you need a THICK section to become a damn. That will take a LOT of water for any given section applied in great excess over about a 50 foot depth of leading edge. Even then it may not cool the center fast enough. (Think lava tubes… hardened crust, very liquid core, for miles and miles…) So it’s a bit of a crap shoot. Better add even more hoses you don’t have…

    The lave goes somewhere else. Yes, I know that’s the goal, but in legal terms you have converted an ‘act of God’ no-liability to your insurance company or you into an “act of man you are so liable” and now you get to try to prove that it was not YOUR action that caused all subsequent damage downstream.

    It’s easier to just collect the insurance money and move on… IF as a corporation you have a general loss rider that covers acts of God too…

    Lord help you if anyone applying the water gets hurt, you are liable. Oh, and you WILL be paying for all the fire pumpers, staff, etc. etc.

    Any fire that could NOT be put out due to lack of equipment is now yours to cover the cost…

    So that’s the short list…

  6. p.g.sharrow says:

    Awesome picture! of the advance on Puna Geothermal Venture’s site.

    Other information that I have gathered on the eruption;
    lots of maps on the last 2 weeks of activities…pg

  7. oldbrew says:

    How the USGS Used a Drone to Save Someone from Kīlauea’s Lava
    By Erik Klemetti | May 30, 2018

    It turned out that a resident was rapidly becoming trapped by these new lava flows. The USGS team was able to find the resident with the drone and have them follow it out of the lava flows and vegetation to safety. Think about that: A drone used to map the flows then used that data to help guide a resident from the hazard zone! Not only that, but the drone was able to send real-time images and video of the lava flows to emergency responders to help them more efficiently help residents and know where to send people as the evacuation progressed.


  8. p.g.sharrow says:


    latest map,looks like much of PGV is now over run.Your picture is at least 2 days old…pg

  9. BoyfromTottenham says:

    E.M. Smith – I wasn’t being serious about the water temperature. Should have added / sarc to my comment. But thanks for the exposition on dealing with lava flows though, it might be useful if I go to certain parts of NZ.

  10. oldbrew says:

    Some more serious damage…

    RENO, Nev., May 31, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ormat Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ORA) provides an update that on May 30, 2018, due to the approaching lava, the substation of the Puna complex and an adjacent warehouse that stored a drilling rig were burned. Both items are expected to be covered by the Company’s insurance policies. Due to the long lead time of constructing a new substation and the extent of the damage to HELCO’s transmission lines, the Company cannot assess when the Puna complex will be able to resume operation and deliver power to the grid. [bold added]