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Lake Kivu in Africa looks like paradise, but it's hiding a deadly secret

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

The engineers aboard the floating power station on Lake Kivu could only watch nervously as the volcano in the distance erupted violently, sending tremors rumbling through the water beneath them.

It was not the lava shooting from Mount Nyiragongo last May that spooked them, but the enormous concentrations of potentially explosive gases within Kivu, one of Africa's great Rift lakes lying between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Flanked by rolling green hills tumbling into glassy waters, Kivu is not quite the picture of tranquility it seems, according to Francois Darchambeau from KivuWatt, a company that extracts gas from the lake's waters for electricity.

Thousands of years of volcanic activity has caused a massive accumulation of methane and carbon dioxide to dissolve in the depths of Kivu – enough to prove monumentally destructive in the rare event they were released.


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