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A Killer Lake



Author:

Thomas Horvath
Biology Department
SUNY College at Oneonta
horvattg@oneonta.edu

Abstract:

In 1986, Lake Nyos, a volcanic lake located in Cameroon, Africa, released a huge amount of carbon dioxide gas, killing over 1,700 people and countless livestock and other animals in the area. This case, intended for use in a limnology or an aquatic biology course, explores that event, introducing students to concepts related to lake formation, thermal stratification, and dissolved gases. Students interpret graphs containing temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and conductivity data for the lake, and then synthesize these different types of limnological data to understand what happened.

Objectives:
  • List the types of lakes that can be formed through volcanic activity and identify the characteristics of such lakes.
  • Distinguish between holomictic and meromictic lakes.
  • Describe the limnetic conditions necessary for meromixis to form in a lake.
  • Identify the vertical zones of a meromictic lake.
  • List the possible dissolved gases associated with lakes.
  • List the sources of and factors affecting the quantity of dissolved gases in lakes.
Keywords: Thermal stratification; meromictic lake; dissolved gas; meromixis; Lake Nyos; Lower Nyos; Cameroon; Africa
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Limnology   Environmental Science   Earth Science  
Date Posted: 6/20/05
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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