Killer Lakes (2002)

Film details

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    United Kingdom

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Alternative titles

  • Killer Lakes Original


Investigates the natural phenomenon known as `lake overturn' which can occur when a volcanic eruption spreads to a fault under a nearby lake, causing an explosion of deadly gas. Recounts the first reported incidence at Lake Monoun in Cameroon in 1984 when 37 people died. Two years later, also in Cameroon, at Lake Nyos, nearly 1800 people sleeping in housing around the lake suffocated in their sleep. The cause was thought to be carbon dioxide gas trapped at the bottom of the lake, and eventually a pipe to disperse the gas was installed. Further surveys of deep lakes in Africa and Indonesia were conducted, and all appeared to be safe, apart from one - Lake Kivu in Rwanda, which is also filling with carbon dioxide and methane - the latter extracted by the local brewery. The lake sits within an earthquake zone and is surrounded by active volcanoes, including Mount Nyiragongo which erupted in January 2002 killing many people and destroying the city of Goma. Had the eruption spread to one of the many volcanic faults under Lake Kivu, the death toll could have been far worse. Participants include: Bill Evans (US Geological Survey); Prof George Kling (University of Michigan); Dr Pierre Zambon (Foumbot Hospital, Cameroon); Prof Haraldur Sigurdsson (University of Rhode Island); Dr Peter Baxter (Institute of Public Health); Gregory Tanyileke (Institute for Mining and Geological Research); Deckers Ngarukiye (Rwanda Brewery); and Prof Robert Hecky (University of Waterloo).

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