Lake Kivu: past and present

Jean-Pierre Descy, François Darchambeau, Martin Schmid

Research output: Contribution in Book/Catalog/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


Lake Kivu, located in the Eastern African Rift, in a dramatic volcanic
scenery, has fascinated the local people, inspiring legends; the explorers of the
nineteenth century, inspiring romantic reports; and the scientists of the twentieth and twenty- first centuries, inspiring limnological and geochemical research. For some, Lake Kivu is a “killer lake”, containing vast amounts of carbon dioxide and methane in its deep, anoxic waters, and it has been compared to Lakes Nyosand Monoun, whose eruptions caused massive animal and human death in Cameroon.Fortunately, methane gas exploitation can help to reduce the eruption risk and at the same time supply an important amount of energy for the benefit of local development. However, the management of the lake resources, including methane harvesting and fisheries, is complex, and particular care must be taken during gasexploitation in order to avoid any negative impacts on the ecosystem and the goods and services provided by the lake.
In this chapter, the history of research on Lake Kivu is summarized, and the
major fi ndings that resulted from expeditions by British, Belgian, American, and
German researchers are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLake Kivu: Limnology and biogeochemistry of a tropical great lake
EditorsJean-Pierre Descy, François Darchambeau, Martin Schmid
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameAquatic Ecology Series


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