Pahoa, Hawaii (AP) - Officials say lava spatter from Hawaii's erupting volcano is creating a wall that's helping protect a nearby geothermal plant.
U.S. Geological Survey scientist Wendy Stovall said Wednesday that lava erupting from a vent closest to Puna Geothermal Venture is shooting higher than lava coming out of other vents.
She says it's also producing the highest lava wall, which is blocking molten rock from flowing north toward the plant.
Residents have been concerned about hazards if lava flowed over the plant's facilities or if the molten rock heated chemicals at the plant.
Lava from the eruption on the Big Island is primarily flowing south toward the ocean.
Officials shut down Puna Geothermal shortly after Kilauea began erupting on May 3.
On Tuesday, officials finished plugging wells that bring up hot liquid and steam that feed a turbine generator.