Mount Kilauea, Hawaii's largest volcano, has been continuously erupting since last month. But that hasn't stopped scores of people from risking their lives, and livelihoods, by taking selfies as lava spews out the Earth a mere feet behind them.
Now, authorities are enforcing strict no-selfie policies because, volcanoes are dangerous, and getting sprayed with 2,000 degree molten rock, or being hit by a boulder being thrown out of Kilauea, is of real concern.
People just can't stop taking selfies next to erupting volcanoes - even if it means jail time. https://t.co/sCsOfhWdpq— IFLScience (@IFLScience) 1529598237.0
According to the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), more than three dozen people have been arrested in "loitering" charges since last month, including a dozen within the last ten days.
Those convicted under Hawaii's new "zero tolerance" policy, which was enacted last month by governor David Yutaka Ige (D), could face fines up to $1,500 and imprisonment of up to a year.
@IFLScience Thinning the herd . #letthemdoit— Superluminous Jones (@Superluminous Jones) 1529598601.0
This is due to lava flows that reach 17 mph and the copious amounts of toxic gas Kilauea has been releasing since it decided to wake up in May.
Rescue crews have to wear gas masks and hazmat suits to access stranded hikers, which increases risk to personnel puts a strain on resources that need to be used for helping people evacuate.
"These people need to think. They are not only putting themselves into potentially life-threatening situations, but we can't completely lock gates or erect impassable barricades in areas where people have only one way out – these are the routes loiterers are using to gain up-close access," Jason Redulla, Deputy Enforcement Chief of the DLNR's Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement, said in a statement.
Last month, the United States Geological Survey issued a warning to would-be volcano selfie-takers (and marshmallow roasters).
"Erm...we're going to have to say no, that's not safe. (Please don't try!)," the USGS said, responding to an inquiry about using volcanic gas to roast marsha 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.
@jayfurr @JimGriffith_SV @DrFunkySpoon Erm...we're going to have to say no, that's not safe. (Please don't try!) If… https://t.co/Ze1Jo2y0oK— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGS Volcanoes🌋) 1527559107.0
@USGSVolcanoes @JimGriffith_SV @DrFunkySpoon Stupid Questions 'R' Us— Jay Furr (@Jay Furr) 1527559165.0
So while it may be tempting to snap that epic selfie in the heart of Earth's geophysical fury - don't.