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Note to Hawaiians: Don’t try toasting marshmallows over lava flows

The Kilauea volcanic eruption, occurring on the Big Island of Hawaii, is causing untold damage to the island paradise.

So you can’t really blame people for trying to find the silver lining on this cloud of thick, toxic ash.

This was the case this week when one American man hit up the United States Geological Survey (USGS) on their official Volcano Twitter account to ask a question that – let’s be honest – a lot of people were probably wondering.

Specifically, Jay Furr asked the USGS, “Is it safe to roast marshmallows over volcanic vents? Assuming you had a long enough stick, that is? Or would the resulting marshmallows be poisonous?”

Great. Question.

And apparently the USGS agreed, because they took a bit of time out from their busy schedule – y’know, keeping residents whose houses are under imminent threat of being destroyed by a lava flow informed about the situation – to tell Jay that no, he probably shouldn’t go out and buy a bag of squishy confectionary and hit up the closest river of fire.

“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,” was the Survey’s response.

Though the USGS were good sports about the question, that didn’t stop other people telling Jay to leave the hard-working folk at the Survey alone, as they’ve probably got more pressing matters to attend to at the moment.

Which, like, yeah, they definitely do. But sometimes it’s nice to take a break from all the pain and destruction.

As for the “spectacular reaction” USGS mentioned by mixing sulfuric acid with sugar, that’d be the ‘black snakes’ that look cool emerging from a beaker, but probably aren’t the best thing to have spewing out of your guts and mouth.

About the author

Joe was Junior Vice-President at Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net until it was bought out by Bill Gates. He now subedits for Conversant Media and considers it a step up.

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