The Extreme Way Some People Are Roasting Marshmallows

After more than a year of self-isolating, social distancing, and general pandemic panicking, plenty of people are bored out of their skulls and ready for some serious adventure, so much so that some are even seeking out active volcanoes ... so they can roast marshmallows over the hot lava (via Mandatory). No, seriously.

This all started in Iceland, an island nation home to 130 active volcanoes. While it's known as the land of fire and ice, Iceland went 800 years without an actual volcanic eruption (via National Geographic). So, when one did finally take place near the capital city of Reykjavík last month, many interested citizens went to witness the sight, and some had the foresight to bring marshmallows for roasting.

One person posted a video of himself roasting a marshmallow over a vein of glowing lava on Instagram, with the caption: "My human experience has now officially peaked" (via Instagram). The post gained over 149,000 likes in two weeks, plus thousands of comments from envious onlookers ... even if it's not the safest idea to be spreading.

Why you shouldn't cook food over lava

We all know volcanoes are dangerous, but just how dangerous? They've killed about 2,000 people between the years of 2000 and 2018 alone (via the BBC). And it's not just the obvious heat or ash that you need to worry about; lava can cause unexpected explosions, plumes of steam, hydrochloric acid, and other gasses, and dangerous mudflows. So, what makes anyone think that cooking over lava is a good idea? 

A 2017 Forbes article about cooking over lava includes the line: "If you stand on a freshly cooled lava flow, and you stick a thin metal pole in the ground, it will likely crack open the blackened surface and reveal molten lava. This may melt your grill, as well as your feet." However, it's not just your feet you need to worry about. According to a tweet from the U.S. Geological Survey in response to a question, even a very long stick won't ensure your safety when roasting marshmallows over lava: "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" (via Twitter). 

So, the next time you see an Instagram post boasting about roasting marshmallows or hot dogs over bubbling lava, you can always curb your jealousy with the knowledge that the end result probably doesn't even taste that good.