Roasting Marshmallows Over Hawaii's Volcano Vents Is A Bad Idea, USGS Warns

One person's river of molten lava is another person's snacking opportunity.

What you need to know
  • Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has seen violent eruptions over the past four weeks
  • The US Geological Survey (USGS) has issued continuous updates and warnings
  • One avid snacker has been left seriously disappointed

As Hawaii's Kilauea volcano continues to spew lava, ash and toxic gas thousands of metres into the air, destroy roads and properties and force thousands from their homes, one avid snacker has only one thing on his mind: marshmallows.

He's posed the question everyone is really thinking, but is too afraid to ask: if you had a long enough stick, could you roast up a tasty treat over a volcano vent?

Devastatingly, the answer appears to be no.

Marshmallows roasted the more conventional way, over a fire. (Photo: Getty Images)

Taking a break from posting the latest updates and volcano warnings, the US Geological Survey responded to Twitter user Jay Furr's pressing query.

"Is it safe to roast marshmallows over volcanic vents?" he asked. "Assuming you had a long enough stick, that is? Or would the resulting marshmallows be poisonous?

Dealing a blow to s'mores lovers across the island, the USGS issued a stern warning.

"Erm... we're going to have to say no, that's not safe," it tweeted.

"(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."

The Q&A session sparked a similar reaction across social media, with the post being shared hundreds of times.

According to US authorities, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, combined with volcanic smog,  don't make for great roasting agents.

It seems Hawaiians in the path of Kilauea volcano will have to resort to cooking their marshmallows the old fashioned way.