Honolulu — Blue flames from burning methane are the latest natural phenomena being seen at the eruption of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.
Nighttime photos released Wednesday by the US Geological Survey show the flames spouting from cracks in the pavement in the Leilani Estates neighbourhood where the volcano has been gushing lava on the big island of Hawaii for the past three weeks.
The volcano produces methane when hot lava buries and burns plants and trees.
"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 US Geological Survey.
The methane can seep through cracks several feet away from the lava. It can also cause explosions when it's ignited while trapped underground. These blasts can toss blocks several feet away, Stovall said.