Hawaii Volcano Kilauea: Don't Roast Marshmallows Over Lava, Experts Warn

This is a natural disaster, not summer camp.

It may seem like a cool idea to use one of the scolding hot vents from the Kilauea volcano to roast some marshmallows and make some s’mores, but no, it’s a very bad idea.

A Twitter user asked a question to the official United States Geological Survey account for volcanoes Tuesday. It was an innocent enough question, asking if it’s safe to roast marshmallows over a volcanic vent provided they use a long enough stick. The response from the agency was a definite no and not because of the more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit from the lava.

“Erm…we’re going to have to say no, that’s not safe. (Please don’t try!),” tweeted the account. “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.”

SO2, or sulfur dioxide, is used during winemaking, but only in small amounts in order to kill the yeast and other microorganisms. Too much and it will ruin the taste. H2S, or hydrogen sulfide, is the familiar rotten egg smell and would probably kill the taste of a warm marshmallow. As for sulfuric acid reacting to sugar, yes, you would get a sight to see as it combines to create a “black snake,” because the acid dehydrates the surge leaving just carbon, which is black. Eating straight carbon with a pinch of rotten egg smell will not bring back memories of camp, no matter how much chocolate or graham crackers used.

What’s also not safe right now is the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. On Monday, lava came incredibly close to the Puna Geothermal Plant. Scientists still are not sure when the volcanic activity will come to an end.

The Kilauea volcano spread so much across the Big Island that satellites were able to take pictures of it.

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