Lake Kivu of Rwanda, shown above, is among the world’s 10 naturally deadliest lakes. Watching these calm waters from afar, an onlooker would be completely unaware of the toxins that dwell under the surface. Only a few lakes in the world, like Lake Kivu, are sitting on top of inactive volcanoes. Hidden magma pools expel bubbles of CO2 into the lake that can build into massive pockets of gas at the bottom of the lake. Seasonal lake turnover then turns into a deadly event. Many scientists have studied the tragedy that occurred at Lake Nyos in Cameroon.
“As the lethal mist swept down adjacent valleys (from Lake Nyos), it killed over 1700 people, thousands of cattle, and many more birds and animals.”
People continue to settle areas around these unpredictable lakes. The reason is simple: water. Although it is difficult to tell when a lake will erupt, the signs immediately before are tell-tale. There is a sound like rolling thunder as the CO2 moves to the surface. Silence ensues as the birds stop singing. At that moment, settlers will be most likely to survive if they climb on top of their houses or cars, because the heavy CO2 will stay close to the ground. In past explosions, some have temporarily lost consciousness from the lack of oxygen, but survived.
10 Naturally Toxic Lakes:
- Lake Kivu, Rwanda
- Lake Monoun, Cameroon
- Lake Nyos, Cameroon
- Boiling Lake, Dominica
- Lake Rakshastal, Tibet
- Lake Karachay, Russia
- Lake Mono, USA
- Yellowstone Lake, USA
- Horseshoe Lake, USA
- Mount Rainier Crater Lake, USA
More articles on killer lakes: 10 Naturally Deadliest Lakes