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NEWS: 10,000 Face Death As Cameroon Dam On Brink Of Collapse

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posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 09:41 PM
10,000 people in Cameroon are in danger after it has been found that a natural dam holding back a lake is on the verge of collapsing. Doctor Isaac Njilah, a geologist has said the region could face great danger if volcanic tremors fracture the weakened dam, which would unleash a wall of water that could thunder into neighbouring Nigeria. The wall is formed of pyroclastic or volcanic rock and unless immediate action is undertaken the collapse of this dam will result in the death of thousands.
The 1986 catastrophe at Nyos -- which scientists say is the worst gas disaster on record -- focused international attention on the area, where experts recommended the controlled release of carbon dioxide dissolved in deep lake water.

Five pipes were to be installed to drain the gas, although only one was eventually built in the lake, which lies in the throat of an old volcano in the Oku volcanic field.

Scientists say Lake Nyos is one of only three lakes in the world known to be saturated with carbon dioxide -- along with Lake Monoun, also in Cameroon, and Lake Kivu on Rwanda's border with Democratic Republic of Congo.

During their investigations into the disaster, scientists discovered that a huge volume of water was being held back by the fragile natural dam, just 40 metres high and 45 metres wide at its narrowest point, which was rapidly eroding.

Potholes have gaped open in the harder, upper layer of the barrage, while water is trickling through the lower section.

The outflow of the water could also release pressure on the carbon dioxide at the bottom of the lake, leading to another gas disaster of even greater magnitude than that of 1986.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

I hope something is done soon and more scientists and engineers are sent to the region to stop this event happening. This will be a catastrophe of titanic proportions and it seems that there is a strong probability that unless intervention takes place Now, it will happen and soon.

[edit on 21-8-2005 by Mayet]

posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 09:45 PM
Sounds like they should be evacuating people ... so basically this whole thing is a big lake of selzer water (dissolved CO2)?

posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 03:23 AM
Yeah basically evacuation is probally the best bet. They could try and build a new dam wall outside the pyroclastic material but should the wall brake while in the process, it would be a catastrophe.

Not to sound uncaring or anything, it would be a rare chance to witness and study what a catastrophic flood could do and the impact it would have on the geology and ecology of the surrounding area. It might also give us an insight into what could have happened eons ago at places like Lake Mizzoula in Idaho etc.

posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 06:14 PM

YAOUNDE - A Cameroon government scientist dismissed on Tuesday a warning that the natural dam holding back Lake Nyos in the northwest of the country was about to burst, threatening thousands of lives.

Surveyors agree that erosion is undermining the barrier at the lip of Lake Nyos, where a cloud of carbon dioxide that had accumulated in the water escaped in August 1986, killing 1,800 people in surrounding villages.

Controversy mostly surrounds the timeframe for an eventual collapse, with some geologists saying it could happen at any moment, especially if a volcanic tremor occurs in the area, and others arguing it will take longer to break.

All this argument does the issue no good. These people who say that there is no immediate danger of collapse are holding thousands of lives in their hands and if they are wrong the results will be devastating.

This is one issue that the US and UN could easily step into, offering to send their own geologists and engineers and maybe even offering to help fortify the dam instead of just going to other countries to create war. This is where the moneys should be spent, on helping people less fortunate. Cameroon is a pretty poor African nation they need help to stop this.

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