Kilauea Volcano: Watch Incredible Footage of 'Eerie' Blue Flames Burning from Cracks In the Ground

Since May 3, a number of fissures have opened up on the eastern flank of Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano, releasing toxic gases and streams of lava which have destroyed several buildings and forced the evacuation of around 2,000 people.

Meanwhile, the crater at its summit has been spewing out large volcanic rocks and plumes of ash—one of which reached 30,000 feet into the air.

As if this wasn’t enough to contend with, residents have also been warned about a number of unusual-sounding hazards, such as “lava bombs” (red-hot balls of flying lava), “vog” (acidic volcanic smog) and “laze” (toxic mist created when lava meets the ocean).

Now, the volcano has produced another bizarre phenomenon: Late Tuesday evening, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) captured stunning footage showing an apocalyptic scene in which ridges of blue flames can be seen burning from cracks in a street, as fountains of lava erupt out of the ground.

But where did the strange blue flames come from?

“When lava buries plants and shrubs, methane gas is produced as a byproduct of burning vegetation,” according to the USGS website. “Methane gas can seep into subsurface voids and emerge from cracks in the ground several feet away from the lava. When ignited, the methane produces a blue flame.”

In addition to burning as a blue flame, the methane can also become trapped underground. If the gas is ignited, it has the potential to explode in a powerful blast.

USGS scientist, Jim Kauahikaua, said it was only the second time he had ever seen blue flames during an eruption, according to the Associated Press.

"It's very dramatic. It's very eerie," he told reporters at a press conference.

Capture This screenshot from a U.S. Geological Survey video shows blue flames burning from cracks in the ground on Kahukai Street in the Leilani Estates neighborhood of Pahoa, Hawaii, on Tuesday, May 22, 2018. U.S. Geological Survey

Kīlauea—which rises 4,190 feet above Hawaii’s Big Island, making up around 14 percent of its total area—is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It has been erupting on a continuous basis since 1983.

Experts cannot say for sure when the latest spike in activity will die down, but officials have stressed that the effects are localized to a small area on the southeastern coast of the Big Island.

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