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Sep 27 / Dave Schumaker

Lake Nyos Growing Threat

Lake Nyos sits atop a volcano in Cameroon. It is most notable for an event in 1986 where it released large quantities of carbon dioxide that flowed downhill, suffocating upwards of 1,800 people. Afterwards, scientists from around the world came together and created a project to de-gas Lake Nyos. However, it appears the project may not be as effective as thought. Scientists warn that Lake Nyos still contains potentially life threatening quantities of CO2 dissolved within it.

“In both lakes, there’s been a 12% to 14% reduction in overall gas content, which is the good news,” said Kling. “The bad news is that the single pipes are not sufficient to rapidly remove as much as is needed to make them safe. There is still more gas in both lakes than was released in the 1980s.

“We could have a gas burst tomorrow that could be bigger than either of those disasters and every day we wait is just an accumulation of the probability that something bad is going to happen.”

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