The U.S. Geological Survey Warned Not To Roast Marshmallows Over Lava, & Really?
Sometimes you just want to try ridiculously weird stunts and creations, no matter how far-fetched or extreme they may seem. Y'know, like eating deep-fried spiders, surfing the mega-swell waves left by dangerous hurricanes, or participating in the viral Tide Pod Challenge. Recently, Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has been oozing lava, at more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which has had me wondering: what's the deal with getting my hands on some volcanic s'mores? Unfortunately for me (and perhaps some of you folks out there, too), the U.S. Geological Survey said not to roast marshmallows over lava, and it's a true disappointment.
On May 28, a Twitter user asked the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Volcanoes Twitter account if it's “safe to roast marshmallows over volcanic vents? Assuming you have a long enough stick, that is?” Long stick or no, the USGS responded by saying, “We’re going to have to say no, that’s not safe. (Please don’t try!.)" Bummer.
The page also warned that if someone was to try it anyway, despite the warning, their treat would likely have a horrible taste to it. “If the vent is emitting a lot of SO2 or H2S, they would taste BAD,” the USGS added. “And if you add sulfuric acid (in the vog, for example) to sugar, you get a pretty spectacular reaction."
... OK, I understand what they're saying, but what if I hold the marshmallow really, really far away from the vents, but close enough so it still roasts? No? OK.
Clearly, I'm not alone in going, "no, seriously, but what if I..." Some Twitter users took the announcement as a challenge.
While others called on the public to use their common sense.
All jokes aside, though, this volcano has been very serious, causing evacuations and destroying people's homes. Aside from the latest advisement, the USGS has issued a number of warnings in the weeks since the Kilauea Volcano erupted on the Big Island on May 3, with the latest announcement coming on May 29. Apparently, volcanic haze has reached Guam and poses a threat to its residents, as the smoke can cause various health issues including optical or respiratory problems, according to CNN. As a result of the volcano's spread (which — by the way — has destroyed at least 71 homes) thousands of residents have been evacuated from surrounding areas, so you'd think it's clearly not worth getting close to for a few roasted treats.
Lava is also reportedly bubbling from a violent fissure — called Fissure 8 — at alarming heights. The outlet notes that lava has reached up to 200 feet, and doesn't appear to be dying down any time soon, in case you needed another reason to keep your distance. "So it is like a volcano game of whack-a-mole that people are playing. Just when you think things are calming down in one area, suddenly they bubble up in another area," CNN correspondent Scott McLean reported.
Aside from that, there have been multiple reports claiming that there are "extremely high levels of sulfur dioxide gas" around the area. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sulfur dioxide, or SO2, is poisonous, can also cause difficulty breathing and damage the ecosystem.
And lastly, if you're somehow still conjuring up ways to make your summertime snack happen, let me also remind you that there have been a series of earthquakes rattling the island. CNN notes that since Kilauea's eruption, more than 2,000 earthquakes have occurred in or around the Big Island, with a 5.0 magnitude tremor, striking just weeks ago.
I can't believe I have to make this announcement given all that I've said, but on a serious note, you guys: please don't try to roast marshmallows near any volcano. I know how much more tempting things can be when you're told not to do them, but for your own safety, just resist it. You'll live to not-regret it.