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« Martin Nkemngu: I Was the First Journalist to Visit Lake Nyos after the Disaster | Main | The Lake Nyos Disaster 20 Years After (II):Explaining Death by Toxic Carbon Dioxide Cloud »

August 21, 2006

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Emil Mondoa, MD

Someone with more knowledge may need to explain how Carbon dioxide could cause burns on people and structures. CO2 is not combustible. It is in an oxidative sense inert, in that it cannot explode and burn. It kills through suffocation. If it were a gas that caused the catastrophe, could it not have been methane, that is very explosive, and also has CO2 and Water as its end product?

Regarding the commonly held belief in Africa that it was the result of a neutron bomb test, why have there been no study of isotopes in the area. An intense neutron blast has to have left a fingerprint. Prove or disprove this version once and for all.

For those who are interested in making their own, there is a short primer in wikipedia (I am kidding, if you have no sense of humor).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_bomb

Joe Bannavti

The history of Cameroon's approach to issues of this nature - absence of a trusted public media outlet from the government bench - helps to nurture and cement conspiracy theories as a culture in that country. To say the least, a majority of Cameroonians do not believe their government, and do not trust it, although they live with it.
We need to review scientific studies conducted on the lake to determine the right story. And it seems Emil's questions are correct. However we also need to know what the joint commission of Cameroon and Nigeria has been doing to prevent the spillover or overflow of Lake Nyos again. It would seem that such a spill would be as devastating in Nigeria as it would be in Cameroon, and this puts the government of Nigeria very much on alert.
I watched a program on Lake Kivu in the Congo,(thanks to WLIW-21) and a Cameroonian parallel was refrenced in Nyos. In Kivu, it would seem that when a huge amount of Co2 was unleashed into the atmospher, it crawled on the ground surface (probably because if is heavier) displacing the oxigene in that area completely. This resulted in immediate suffocations and therefore instant deaths. I am uncomfortable trying to repeat this explanation because I know very little of it. But would it be possible that such could have been the case in Nyos as suggested by this report? The military tests are possible, but we need more data to substantiate it. The words of a neighboring head of state could be a starting point.

George Akum

There is actually a "Lake Nyos Demonstration kit" used by students in the US to recreate what happened in Nyos.
An Experiment You Can Perform. Read below:
************************************

Earth science teacher Rod Benson of Helena, Montana, teaches his students about the density of gases with his ingenious “Lake Nyos Demonstration, which is available in a kit from “WARD’s Natural Science Establishment” for $49.95 (for more information, see http://formontana.net/nyosdemo.html and http://www.wardsci.com/Product.asp_Q_cm_E_1_A_pn_E_360730).

Three candles cut to different heights (1/2 inch, 1 inch and 1 and ½ inch) are positioned in the bottom of a clear box, as shown. Vinegar (1 ½ cups) is added to an empty jug. To the jug containing the vinegar is added ¼ cup of baking soda. After 30 seconds, the reaction between the vinegar and baking soda should end. While the reaction is occurring, someone lights the three candles. Which candle do you think will extinguish first when the carbon dioxide gas in the jug is poured into the clear box—the shortest, the middle, or the tallest candle? Then carefully pour the gas into the box.

Carbon dioxide is denser than air, so it fills the plastic box from the bottom up, just as water would. As a result, the shortest candle is snuffed out first even though it is farthest from the source of gas (jug), followed by the medium candle, and finally the tall candle.

What does this experiment have to do with the 1,700 people and animals that died in Cameroon from the toxic carbon dioxide clouds emitted from Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun? The lakes emitted a very high concentration of carbon dioxide, which, being denser than air, hugged the ground where people were sleeping and later on, traveling in low areas where the gas had collected. The carbon dioxide emission displaced the oxygen sufficiently to asphyxiate the unfortunate Cameroonians in a manner similar to the way in which the candles extinguished in the Lake Nyos Lab experiment. Indeed, Cameroonians who lived at slightly higher altitudes in the area did not succumb to the gas.

emah

George,

Thus this experiment also suggest that apart from the effect of suffocation or asphyxiation, the toxic C02, could account for the EXTENSIVE BURNS, that were reported? If there was a temperature difference as the explosion occured which could have accounted for the BURNS, could plants as well in the locality be affected? How come that purely animal forms suffered this effect?

Looking at the literature on lethal C02 poisoning, is difficult to pinpoint exactly where is proven that just a mixture of what ever % of toxicity of C02 comes with the degree of burns followed by rapid decomposition of the magnitue we saw of the bodies few hours after. Some reports used the word 'charred bodies', could this be an isolated incidence?

if you put in some of the gynmics that occured around that time, it will be very hard so say, this was NOT a 'mafia act'.

The conspiracy theory, can't be brushed aside like that. After all , today, we know what this three countries, Isreal, France and America are made up of, selfish, extremely hypocritical and tyranic nations of the world.

The evil that men do leave after them. The truth lives in the heart of Mr Paul Biya.

I rest my case

ABS

The Degassing of the lakes "NYOS" and "MONOUN" can not prevent from the repetition in lakes "NYOS" and "MONOUN" of the limnological catastrophes.

http://www.nyos.lv/?l=2&m=1

“… , trigger mechanism of the limnological catastrophes, who be happened in CAMEROON on lake "MONOUN" in 1984 and on lake "NYOS" in 1986 , was switched on by influence of the atmospheric precipitations in 1983.
Limnological catastrophes on lake "MONOUN" in 1984 and on lake "NYOS" in 1986, were caused by the instantaneous ejections of the gaseous carbon dioxide from the sediment stratums under the lake’s bottom.
The Degassing the waters of the lakes "NYOS" and "MONOUN" can not prevent from the repetition in lakes "NYOS" and "MONOUN" of the limnological catastrophes, similar to the catastrophes of 1984 and of 1986 , in which the trigger mechanism was switched on by the influence of the atmospheric precipitations.
Under influence of the atmospheric precipitation the trigger mechanism of the the limnological catastrophes in the lake "Nyos" and the "Monoun" , in any time may to be switched on and in a certain time hereon will happen of the limnological catastrophes.”
ABS

ABS

http://www.nyos.lv/?l=2&m=1

THE DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCE OF THE REDUCTION INTO TWENTY METERS OF THE LEVEL OF THE WATER IN LAKE "NYOS" IN CAMEROON , WHICH ARE NOT TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT IN REPORT ABOUT ASSESSMENT OF THE DAM ON LAKE "NYOS" BY MISSION "Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit", WHO HAD VISITTED CAMEROON IN SEPTEMBER 2005.

The Reduction into 20 metres of the water level in the lake "Nyos" significantly magnifies probability of the mortal catastrophe in contrast with probability of the catastrophe in the natural conditions. The strengthening the existing dam (without reduction of the water level) on the lake "Nyos" does not magnify probability of the catastrophe.
ABS

Nico

The fact that the Israeli connection is limitted to the visit of PM Shimon Perez with a medical team of 17 falls short of what I expected when I started reading the post. Although I must state here that your research was extensive, I wish to call out the proponents of the conspiracy theories that surround this tragic event.
If you are going to offer a conspiracy theory, you need more than a suggestion. The fact here is, that the timeline sought after was totally wrong. So how come they hold on to the absurd idea that the Israelis were testing a bomb. Pppplease! And a nuetron bomb, for that matter. The neutron bomb ... would disable enemy tank crews in minutes, and those exposed would die within days. U.S. production of the bomb was postponed in 1978 and resumed in 1981. But the people in Nyos area died in minutes.
Also called ENHANCED RADIATION WARHEAD, specialized type of small thermonuclear weapon that produces minimal blast and heat but which releases large amounts of lethal radiation. The neutron bomb delivers blast and heat effects that are confined to an area of only a few hundred yards in radius. But within a somewhat larger area it throws off a massive wave of neutron and gamma radiation, which can penetrate armour or several feet of earth. This radiation is extremely destructive to living tissue. Because of its short-range destructiveness and the absence of long-range effect, the neutron bomb would be highly effective against tank and infantry formations on the battlefield but would not endanger cities or other population centres only a few miles away.(these are not my words. Manuel's Web) The lake Nyos area still had vegetation that was live and well. And the neutron bomb would have at least killed that too.

Shimon Perez had planned a visit to Cameroon and was not about to call it off when the disaster came. Instead, he seized the opportunity and rounded up 17 medical personnel (whom could have all come from one of the many military hospitals in Israel) and set out to cement his friendship with Biya.
This I see as a window of opportunity that was aptly read and used by Shiimon Perez.
That said, any geographer who knows his craft would be able to tell that Nyos was a crater lake, although there is no documented evidence of the fact that there was an eruption in the mountains in our history (again, because Cameroon is not good with record keeping) and could have been on a domant volcano. And when the volcanic activity started, the lake had trapped gasses that it had to release.
What I think we need to revel on right now is the fact that the money donated for aid got into the wrong hands, which is Cameroon's chronic illness. Have a good day!

Brights

I think the high concentration of carbon dioxide in the human body could have caused the blisters and burns to have erupted on the skin. High concentration of carbon dioxide in the body causes the PH level of the blood to become acidic.

 Mara

I strongly think the lake Nyos disaster was man-made following the interview granted by President Denis Sassou Nguessou. This is not any kind of person but an African leader. He had nothing to gain by making his declarations. The president of the Republic of Cameroun, the then governor of the Northwest province and the then DO for Menchum Division will one day explain behind the bars what actually happened.

paulo laurent

MR DIBUSSI, IF IT WAS IN AMERICA OR ENGLAND.
SJIMON PEREZ, PAUL BIYA, WOULD HAD BEEN IN JAIL, THIS IS WHAT WE IN AMERICA CALL CIRCUMSTANCIAL EVIDENCE AN A JURY WILL NAIL
THESE TWO MEN TO A DEATH SENTENCE FOR MASS MURDER, A SCIENTIST HAD TOLD YOU THAT
LAKE JUST DONT WAKE UP AND BURST, KNOWING WHAT THE WITNESS(SASSOU NGUESSOU AHD TOLD US, WHAT THE VILLAGERS HAD SAID, AND KNOWING THE HISTORY OF GENOCIDE COMMITTED BY PAUL BIYA IN THE PASS, BY NURFERING THE MAGUIDAS AFTER THE FAILED COUP OF 1984,
THE BAMILEKE GENOCIDE, WHICH HE WAS A MEMEBER OF AHAMDU AHIJO TEAM IN THAT GENOCIDE, KNOWING WHAT HE HAD SAID PUBLICLY, THAT HE WANTS TO WIPE OUT THE ANGLOSAXON CULTURE SOO THAT HIS VERSION OF CAMEROUN SHOULD BE PURELY FRENCH, KNOWING THE NURDERS HE HAD COMMITED IN 26 YRS, HE IS GUILTY, AS WE IN AMERICA KNOWS IT.
NO WHETHER YOU ACCEPT IT OR NOT ITS TRUE. A WHITEMAN JUST DONT WAKE UP OVER NIGHT AND LOAD A PLANE FULL OF MEDICAL EQIPMENT ANDF HEAD FOR A REMOTE JUNGLE IN AFRICA, 48 HURS BEFORE THER IS A NUCLEAR DISASTER TO HELP THE SURVIVORS, WHERE THER ISNT ANY ROADS, AND HE HAD NEVER BEEN THERE.IF HE HADNT HAD A PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF THE SAID PENDING NUCLEAR DISASTER.
THIS IS HOW CLEAR AND OPEN CONSCIENCE PEOPLE REASON, NOW IF YOUR MIND IS CORRUPTED, AND FULL OF FOG, YOU WILL BE DANCING LEFT AND RIGHT WITHOUT A CLEAR STAND LIKE THE MR DIBUSSI GUY.

WHAT WE GOTTA LEARN HERE IS THAT, HERE IS THE PRICE THAT 7M BRITISH SOUTHERN CAMEROONIANS HAVE TO PAY FOR VOTING IN 1961 TO UNITE WITH FRENCH CAMEROUN AS A FEDERATION OF TWO SEPERATE AND EQUAL COUNTRIES. S,T MUNA AND JOHN N FONCHA.
SHOULD BE BLAME, BUT WE HAVE TO KEEP THE FIGHT ON TILL WE ARE A FREE AND INDEPENDENT NATION, THOSE OF OUR BROTHERS WHO ARE NOSTALGIC ABOUT THE CAMEROUNESE STATE, WOULD HAVE THE OPPORTUNKITY TO PARK AND GO ACROSS THE MUNGO AND LIVE THRE, I MEAN MY MAN HERE.

Ray

CO2 can cause burns. See --

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1836556/

Carbon dioxide was blamed for the deaths of around 1700 people in Cameroon, west Africa, in 1986 when a massive release of gas occurred from Lake Nyos, a volcanic crater lake. The clinical findings in 845 survivors seen at or admitted to hospital were compatible with exposure to an asphyxiant gas. Rescuers noted cutaneous erythema and bullae on an unknown proportion of corpses and 161 (19%) survivors treated in hospital; though these lesions were initially believed to be burns from acidic gases, further investigation suggested that they were associated with coma states caused by exposure to carbon dioxide in air. The disaster at Lake Nyos and a similar event at Lake Monoun, Cameroon, two years previously provide new information on the possible medical effects of large scale emissions of carbon dioxide, though the presence of other toxic factors in these gas releases cannot be excluded.

MelQi

Too much coincidences.
And in this world.... There are no coincidences... Only occurences...
Specially when USA or Israël is involved.

-the prime minister visit... Hummm... With top head of military staff general colonel and so on... Hum
-the medical staff... Too quick... Even if we take in consideration the possibilities and capacity of mobilisation of the israeli army... Too quick😕
-why then denied to the british marine corps who was at the cameroonian coast to give they help. ? And they proposed...
-since then the whole cameroonian army (from GP to BiR... And all other corps) is taken in hostage by all the actifs and retired officers of the israeli army tshahal...
-how many of the so-called scientist and military officer who came with the prime minister as first on the disaster site... How many of them came to the conférence organise the year after ? 😱😬
-since when carbone dioxide have any odor.... ? Since when do C02 causes burns...?
-the Pr Sassou nguesso indiscretions...hummmm
-
-
-
-
-...
Too many inconsistancies...
And definitively... Israël...in humanitarian mission ...or diplomatic whatever terms they use... 2days after..? Serious ? You must be kidding... 😎😘😜😝🙏🙌

melqizedekAROBASEgmail.com

Please ressources(news papers books articles...) on the subject are welcomed. To put an end to my ongoing thesis and academic work. Thanks.

Posted by: MelQi | .

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