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HomeYears: 10-12Marden Senior CollegeVolcanic Activity - Lake Nyos
Years: 10-12

Volcanic Activity - Lake Nyos

19 Nov 2009

Lake Nyos is a crater lake which lies within the Oku Volcanic Field on the northern boundary of the Cameroon Volcanic Line, a zone of crustal weakness and volcanism. It is located in western Cameroon, adjacent to Nigeria, in the elbow region of West Africa.

Though no information could be found on the tectonic setting of the Crater Lake, I surmise that it is located in a subduction zone on a convergent plate boundary. I have come to this conclusion due to the fact that Lake Nyos lies within the Oku Volcanic Field, which consists of Scoria (Cinder) cones and Volcanic Maars. It also shares the same volcanic line as Mt. Cameroon, a stratovolcano.

The most famous “eruption” of Lake Nyos occurred on the night of the 21st of August 1986. A deadly CO - rich cloud was expelled from the southern floor of the lake. The cloud, containing about 1.6 million tonnes of CO2, rose at the rate of 100km/h and quickly enveloped houses located within the crater, 120 metres above the shoreline of the lake. The cloud, which is thought to have been about 50 metres thick, then travelled downhill in a concentrated form for over 23km. As CO2 is 1.5 times as dense as air, humans and animals in the villages of Nyos, Kam, Cha and Subum and their surroundings were deprived of oxygen. Most victims appeared to have simply fallen asleep and died from asphyxiation. Many died in their beds.

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Student: Helene McKie

Teacher: Cynthia Pyle

Category: Field Trips

Year: 11