When you hear about dangerous things regarding nature, a lake usually isn’t among them. However, one in Africa appears to be an exception, with researchers claiming a “killer lake” there could erupt, killing millions.
According to The New York Post, freshwater experts say Lake Kivu is harboring hazardous, volatile gases. Nestled between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, it is one of Africa’s “rift” lakes. Near it lies Mount Nyiragongo, which happens to be one of the world’s most active volcanoes. For thousands of years now, its volcanic activity caused an immense amount of dissolved carbon dioxide and methane to gather under Kivu’s surface. Kivu accumulated so much of it, Nyiragongo erupting could trigger the lake to release these gases into the atmosphere, putting millions at risk.
This specific event is called a limnic eruption. Not only would it result in the mentioned poisonous gas cloud, but it would create large waves which could be dangerous to locals near the lake. Francois Darchambeau is a limnologist and environmental manager at a gas extraction company called KivuWat and disclosed Kivu is known as a “killer lake.”
What makes these lakes truly dangerous is the fact limnic eruptions are tough to both predict and avoid. Dr. Robin George Andrews talked to BBC about it last year, saying we can never really expect when they are going to happen. Luckily, scientists set precautions in place, should the worst occur. For instance, they developed a way to remove methane from the lake and use it for energy.
The only other “killer lakes” on the planet are Nyos and Monoun in northwest Cameroon. Of those, Nyos recently endured a limnic eruption in 1986 shortly after a landslide. It resulted in 1,800 people from nearby villages dying from asphyxiation.
Killer Bee Swarm Kills 63 Endangered Penguins in South African Town
Unfortunately, killer lakes aren’t all Africa has to worry about lately. Last year, a South African town witnessed a swarm of bees kill 63 endangered penguins.
BBC reports a colony in Simonstown protects the birds in Africa. Colonists found them dead on the shore last September with multiple bee-stings. Dr. Alison Kock, a marine biologist with South Africa’s national parks agency (SANParks) talked to BBC about the surprising development. “Usually the penguins and bees co-exist,” she began. “The bees don’t sting unless provoked – we are working on the assumption that a nest or hive in the area was disturbed and caused a mass of bees to flee the nest, swarm and became aggressive.”
Unfortunately, this species is already on the decline without killer bees dwindling their numbers further. Conservation experts say commercial fishing, as well as “environmental fluctuation,” caused the penguins to die off. As the name suggests, means radical environmental changes.