Saturday, June 03, 2006

I was reading, yesterday, about a place called Lake Nyos in Cameroon. The lake sits halfway up a volcano, and it's saturated with carbon dioxide in a way that only happens in two other lakes in the world. It's thermally stratified, so all of the dangerous water is the cold stuff down at the bottom.

But then one day in 1986 something--no one really knows what--happened to make the carbon dioxide in the water effervescence to the surface like an opened can of soda. The lake turned upside down and the gas rolled down the hillside, shifting under the lighter oxygen, killing the 1800 people that didn't think to run away.

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