Anyone who thinks there's no such thing as a stupid question, clearly hasn't met an online troll before.
This week, the US Geological Survey (USGS) was trying to keep the public informed about Hawaii's ongoing volcanic eruption when suddenly, they were obliged to confirm that no, toasting marshmallows over a volcano is not really the best idea.
The question was posed by Twitter user, Jay Furr, who wanted to know: Is it safe to roast marshmallows over volcanic vents, assuming that you had a long enough stick to avoid injury?
"Erm," USGS Volcanoes answered. "We're going to have to say no, that's not safe."
Erm...we're going to have to say no, that's not safe. (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.— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) May 29, 2018
The USGS calmly explained that not only is roasting marshmallows over a volcanic vent extremely dangerous during a code red alert, the result will likely taste and smell awful.
Plus, if there happens to be any volcanic fog (vog) around, which contains sulfuric acid, you might have a messy situation on your hands.
When sulfuric acid is combined with sugar, it creates a highly exothermic reaction, releasing heat, steam and sulfur oxide fumes that smell just awful.
Jay Furr gave it another shot.
At this point, whoever runs the USGS Volcanoes account likely figured out that they were being trolled. But it was too late. The damage had already been done. The intellectual conversation on volcanos quickly devolved into pure cheekiness.
Stop trolling the @USGS , they've got important volcano things to do— Tony Rice (@rtphokie) May 29, 2018
The thread got so weird that astrobiologist David Grinspoon, who Jay Furr tagged in the original question, checked right out.
Um is there some way I can be taken off this thread?— David Grinspoon (@DrFunkySpoon) May 29, 2018
Later, on his personal website, Jay Furr confirmed that he'd just been having a laugh.
"I have a stupid sense of humor, especially when I'm bored. But I usually don't make the national news as a result," he wrote, linking to an article written about his Tweet.