The Weirdest Question Asked About Hawaii’s Volcano

May 30, 2018 | Ryan


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Hawaii’s volcanic eruption has been making news for the last few weeks, and for good reason. This type of activity is rare, especially considering the scope of the damage and the number of people affected. But everyone responds differently to these kinds of extreme circumstances, with one man actually asking if it would be safe to roast marshmallows over the lava.

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A social media query was made regarding the safety of this crazy activity, prompting the US Geological Survey to respond with a big, fat “No.” Kilauea has been spewing rivers of fiery-hot lava that has caused widespread destruction, including people’s homes. This has been very serious and consistently tragic, so it makes sense that someone who’s not there would think of something so ridiculous.

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A man from Richmond, Vermont asked the crazy question online, which specified that the marshmallow roasters would be using a long stick to toast the treats over the volcanic vents. These vents emit high levels of sulfur dioxide that present a variety of health risks, making them very dangerous to even be around, let alone interact with in any way. Maybe the man’s idea to use a long stick was to hopefully avoid any of these concerns.

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Regardless of the length of the stick, the USGS made their position clear with a simultaneously casual, scientific and decisive tweet, “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.” It’s unclear if anyone on the island has actually tried this, but hopefully with this piece of information going public, they’ll stop immediately.

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