Roasting Marshmallows Over Hawaii’s Erupting Volcano

Maintaining a social media presence is super hard.

It is a lot harder if you are the US Geographical Survey. Not only do these science geeks update us with the latest geographical events happening in the country, they also take out time to answer their follower’s misguided questions.


The month of May proved very explosive for Hawaiians. One of the carters atop Kilauea Volcano had erupted and chaos ensued. The residents were grappling with fear at the possibility of evacuation when they heard the explosions.

The USGS is reported to have said,

“At any time, an activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent,”

Amidst the heated situation, the scientists and social media handlers of USGS made sure to update the world about the on-going events.

The Interaction

The fact that the situation was pretty serious was an understatement. Yet, a Twitter follower diffused it with a very important question.

Jay Furr asked the USGC:

“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?”

Not only did this question go viral, but it also steered the discussion towards safe-snacking on the volcano summits.

Photo via. Pinterest

Although the question was not exactly a head-scratcher, the people at USGC still played along.

Here is their answer:

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

Furthermore, being the science geniuses they are. They backed up the reply with a little hint at what might happen if someone did try roasting marshmallows on a volcanic vent.

According to them, these are the three consequences you’ll most likely face:

Is It Getting Hot in Here?

Firstly, this is not Lord of the Rings.

There is no way you can come out of an angry volcano unscathed. It is also highly possible that you never reach the vicious vent due to the tremors and shakes during the climb.

Moreover, how exactly would you steady yourself with the hot debris under your feet?

Photo via. Mother Nature Network

Melting Marshmallows

Who doesn’t like some warm toasty marshmallows?

The way they melt in your mouth as soon as you bite into the warm cloudy goodness. It is scrumptiously divine! This might be why Jeff started imagining the volcano as his unceasing source to melt marshmallows.

Except, he forgot the basics of volcano eruptions that it isn’t just fire and rocks. The lava is actually composed of sulfur dioxides and hydrogen sulfides. This deadly combination of harmful emitting gases and marshmallow tastes ‘BAD’.

Chemistry 101

Next, if there is sulphuric acid near the vents, you will most likely witness something ‘spectacular’.

How can it be more fascinating than the volcano eruption?

Well, chemistry lovers would know that when you mix sugar (marshmallow) with H2SO4, you get black snakes. Apparently, the acid dehydrates the sucrose and gives us just carbon. The exothermic reaction pushes the carbon out in an explosive way.

As fascinating as this sounds, we think we will stick to the traditional way of making S’mores!

What about you?