Coping with Lake Kivu, East Africa

Thomas C. Johnson, Christopher A. Scholz

Research output: Contribution to journalShort Survey Articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Workshop on Tropical Rift Lake Systems: Integrated Volcanogenic, Tectonic, Biogeochemical, and Geohazard Assessment of Lake Kivu; Gisenyi, Rwanda, 13-15 January 2010; Situated in the volcanic highlands of the East African Rift Valley's western branch, Lake Kivu contains one of the most unusual and fascinating aquatic ecosystems on the planet. Bottom waters in the 480-meter-deep lake are warmer and saltier than its surface waters. The concentrations of dissolved carbon dioxide and methane are so high in the deep water that catastrophic overturn, an abrupt upwelling of deep water and gas driven by the buoyancy of expanding gas bubbles as they rise from the depths, could well happen in the coming century. Were this to occur, human fatalities would likely number in the hundreds of thousandsa disaster similar to what occurred when Lake Nyos (Cameroon) in 1986 emitted a large amount of carbon dioxide, causing hundreds of local residents to suffocatebut with orders-of-magnitude more gas release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264
Number of pages1
Issue number30
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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