By Jennifer Calfas
May 29, 2018

The U.S. Geological Survey took a break from giving serious updates about Hawaii’s Kilauea volcanic eruption to confirm that no, you should not roast marshmallows over the scorching hot volcanic vents.

The USGS responded to one twitter user 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,” the USGS replied. “We’re going to have to say no, that’s not safe. (Please don’t try!)”

Not only would it be unsafe, the USGS said, but the marshmallows would simply taste bad. The vent could be releasing sulfur dioxide or hydrogen sulfide — which both emit not-so-pleasant smells — and the sulfuric acid from vog, or volcanic smog, could create a “pretty spectacular reaction,” the USGS said.

The USGS has issued a number of more formal warnings in the weeks since the Kilauea Volcano erupted in Hawaii, causing many residents in the nearby Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens to evacuate as more fissures open and the lava flow slowly moved, eventually hitting the ocean. The USGS has issued a warning for the volcano — the highest alert-level possible that means a “hazardous eruption is imminent, underway or suspected,” according to the USGS website. The agency had also issued a red-level aviation code, which warns an eruption is imminent or underway with significant volcanic ash and plume in the air.

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