Officials Warn People Not to Roast Marshmallows Over Hawaii’s Lava-Spewing Volcano
Most anyone with common sense in the periphery of the dangerous and ongoing volcanic activity near Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano would know full well to steer clear of the spewing lava and its toxic fumes. And yet, the folks at the U.S. Geological Survey still had to take time away from monitoring the dangerous situation to warn people not to roast marshmallows over the volcanic vents.
Briefly interrupting its regular updates about the Kilauea Volcano's activity, the USGS Volcanoes Twitter account recently responded to a question about whether or not it was safe to roast marshmallows over the piping hot vents. The answer should be obvious to anyone with any concept of volcanoes and/or lava, but alas, officials at the agency decided to provide a clear and thorough response anyway.
Erm...we're going to have to say no, that's not safe. (Please don't try!) If the vent is emitting a lot of SO2 or H2S, they would taste BAD. And if you add sulfuric acid (in vog, for example) to sugar, you get a pretty spectacular reaction.— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) May 29, 2018
Beyond the inherent danger involved in getting close to an unpredictable vent that could -- at any moment -- decide to start spewing molten lava, they acknowledged that doing so would also leave you with a horrifically bad-tasting marshmallow. Specifically, they described that it would likely be sprayed with nasty sulfur dioxide or hydrogen sulfide coming from the vent, which would give it a repulsive flavor. Not to mention, if sulfuric acid from the volcanic smog got involved, the chemical reaction between it and the sugar in the marshmallow could get pretty freaking dramatic.
The volcanic activity on Hawaii's Big Island has been ongoing for weeks as fields of fissures beneath Kilauea continue to erupt, with lava trapping residents, devouring cars, destroying homes, threatening major infrastructure, and creating toxic air in the area. The whole ordeal has prompted a series of ongoing evacuation orders, and authorities don't see any end in sight.
Still, as tempting as it may be to treat the Earth's fiery show as an excuse to make yourself a melty sweet treat, maybe stick to roasting marshmallows over the barbecue or campfire and steer clear of the lava fields.