USGS: Please Don’t Roast Marshmallows Over an Erupting Volcano
Stay on target
The people of Hawaii could use a little humor right now: The island’s Kilauea Volcano has been spurting lava and gas since May 3, destroying homes and forcing thousands to evacuate.
So it’s not surprising that a playful tweet about a s’moreish tradition went viral this week.
“Is it safe to roast marshmallows over volcanic vents? Assuming you had a long enough stick, that is,” Vermont resident Jay Furr wrote in a message to the USGS volcanoes account.
“Erm… We’re going to have to say no, that’s not safe,” the United States Geological Survey responded, warning readers to “Please don’t try” the proposed stunt.
Volcanic fissures—like the ones erupting on the Big Island—emit gases, including noxious fumes. Do you really want your marshmallow grilled with a heavy hint of rotten egg?
Besides, adding sulfuric acid to sugar makes for what the USGS cryptically described as “a pretty spectacular reaction.”
“Hmm,” Furr responded. “Okay, what about roasting hot dogs?”
After making headlines around the world, the joker on Tuesday posted a short blog post, admitting that “I have a stupid sense of humor, especially when I’m bored.”
“But I usually don’t make the national news as a result. Usually,” he said, linking to a Time magazine article about the amusing Twitter exchange.
“Parenthetically, I do know better,” Furr wrote, conceding that during a 2017 visit to Kilauea, he “kept a nice safe distance.”
The most active of the five volcanoes that form the islands of Hawaii, Kilauea has been erupting nearly continuously since 1983.
Early this month, a 5.0-magnitude earthquake opened several lava vents in the lower Puna area; a 6.9 quake followed the next day. By May 9, 27 houses had been destroyed and nearly 2,000 locals evacuated.
To make matters worse, a lava lake at Halema’uma’u Crater at Kilauea’s summit began to drop, prompting the closure of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.