On August 21, 1986, a cloud of toxic gas erupted from Lake Nyos, Cameroon. Lake Nyos is a lake that developed in the crater of an inactive volcano. Lake Nyos absorbs carbon dioxide that sometimes leaks from the volcano below. In 1986, this dissolved carbon dioxide erupted from Lake Nyos, a natural hazard called a limnic eruption. The toxic gas spilled over the crater's rim and flowed into villages in the valley surrounding the volcano. About 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock suffocated after breathing the deadly gas.
Following the Lake Nyos disaster, scientists put large pipes in the lake, leading from the lake bottom to above the surface. The pipes allow carbon dioxide to escape as soon as the volcano releases it. The small amount of gas, piped out continuously over time, is not enough to be dangerous.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry carbon dioxide Noun
greenhouse gas produced by animals during respiration and used by plants during photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is also the byproduct of burning fossil fuels.
visible mass of tiny water droplets or ice crystals in Earth's atmosphere.
Encyclopedic Entry: cloud crater Noun
bowl-shaped depression formed by a volcanic eruption or impact of a meteorite.
Encyclopedic Entry: crater disaster Noun
terrible and damaging event.
to explode or suddenly eject material.
state of matter with no fixed shape that will fill any container uniformly. Gas molecules are in constant, random motion.
body of water surrounded by land.
Encyclopedic Entry: lake livestock noun, plural noun
animals raised for sale and profit.
depression in the Earth between hills.
an opening in the Earth's crust, through which lava, ash, and gases erupt, and also the cone built by eruptions.
Encyclopedic Entry: Plate Tectonics and Volcanic Activity