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USGS: Please don’t roast marshmallows over Kilauea

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HONOLULU – It’s officially barbecue season, though one place you shouldn’t plan on making s’mores is over the lava-spurting Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.

It’s hard to believe the US Geological Survey should have to say this, but the agency issued just such a warning Monday after one curious guy posed an eyebrow-raising question, USA Today reports. That query: “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?”

The short answer from the USGS Volcanoes handle: “Erm … we’re going to have to say no, that’s not safe.”

Then, an elaboration: “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.” A final warning: “Please don’t try!”

CNN answers the larger question of whether it’s safe to be in Hawaii at all right now. (The “vog” over the Big Island is creating amazing sunsets.)

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