I could not speak. I became unconscious. I could not open my mouth because then I smelled something terrible… I heard my daughter snoring in a terrible way, very abnormal… When crossing my daughters bed… I collapsed and fell… I wanted to speak, my breath would not come out… My daughter was already dead.” Those are the words of Joseph Nkwain, who was one of the six people who survived the Limnic Eruption out of 1748 people that died. A Limnic Eruption is when a small body of water has high levels of carbon dioxide-C02- and emerges from the bottom of the lake to crate a fog, most commonly known as Death Fog. The “Death Fog” gets into your body and suffocates you to death. Scientists today still don’t know why it happens, probably because it has only happened twice. The first occurred in Lake Kivu in Rwanda, Africa. The second occurred in Lake Nyos in Cameroon, Africa on August 21st, 1986, almost exactly two years after the first eruption. You would never expect this to happen in Cameroon, but 400 years ago it had a volcano that left craters. Over the years the craters filled up with water and made Lake Nyos. With it being a volcano, it had high levels of carbon dioxide which slowly leaked out until it all emerged out at once. That’s why this topic excites me. But it had many long term and short term effects.
The long-term effects of Limnic eruptions are the impact on the community. There were 1800 people who died and six who survived, those six had to live with the death of their family and friends until they died. Which brings me to my next effect, damage. The people who survived had many blisters on them for many weeks. The blisters or burns could have lead to scars or future health issues. The final effect is the farming. Cameroon is one of the highest producers of coco beans, the levels of carbon diocide helped the plants grow at first, until the explosion. Once the lake exploded the crops died out and no one has farmed there since.
The short-term effects of a Limnic eruption start out with the gasses. The gasses were originaly at CO2 23-29, but for a few hours it had 5 gallons of carbon dioxide more than usual come out. After a few days it went back down. The next short-term effect was the construction. The government put pipes under the water to let the gases come out slower than all at once. Finally the financial. Since all of the agriculture and live stock died everyone around had no food, so they had to travel to other villages to get food.
How would everything get done if everyone died? At first nothing got done. Everyone thought that everyone and everything had died. But two days later the levels of gas went up again. So the government evacuated all of the survivors to new homes until it was safe to live there again. To make it safe to live in again, the government added in pipes to let the gasses out slower. Could have more people survived if the officials had taken notice into the levels of carbon dioxide?
If the government had taken notice in the levels, the city would of had a plan. But they didn’t. If they did they could of had gas masks with them at all times. Also, the community could have got their water checked after the first limnic eruption to ensure safety over their village. Even with those plans I believe there will be another eruption. Due to my research, I have found that there are higher levels of carbon dioxide then ever.You can’t really prepare for a Limnic Eruption unless you have a gas mask by you at all times. If you don’t then your as good as dead.
Limnic Eruption are not commonly known, but they are very deadly. The kill thousands and can almost never be prevented. If you live by a lake with high levels of carbon dioxide and you fell dizzy or there is smoke, get away as fast as you can. If you want to learn more you can visit atlaobscura.com.