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January 17, 2019

No, it’s not safe to roast marshmallows over Hawaii volcano, according to the U.S. Geological Survey

May 30, 2018
A man watches as lava is seen sewing from a fissure in the Leilani Estates subdivision near the town of Pahoa on Hawaii’s Big Island on May 4. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. Geological Survey interrupted its public safety announcements to warn people not to roast marshmallows over volcanoes.

The USGS Volcanoes account was responding to Twitter user Jay Furr, who asked: “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?”

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

The agency explained that volcanic vents can emit sulfur dioxide or hydrogen sulfide, which would make the marshmallows taste “BAD.”

If sulfuric acid from volcanic smog is combined with sugar, “you get a pretty spectacular reaction,” the USGS added.

The same Twitter user later asked about roasting hot dogs. His tweet was not answered.

The agency has been providing the public with regular alerts about the Kilauea volcano’s activity level since it erupted on Hawaii’s Big Island on May 3.

The USGS issued the highest alert level possible for the volcano, indicating that a “hazardous eruption is imminent, underway or suspected.”

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