5. Lake Nyos, Cameroon
Lake Nyos is one of only three ‘exploding’ on earth lakes where a pocket of magma leaks CO2 into the water and changes it to carbonic acid .
The largest asphyxiation (suffocation) of people by a natural event ever occurred when Lake Nyos exploded in 1986.
What happens in such cases is that the CO2 is trapped in the water, which acts rather like the cork in a champagne bottle.
Release the cork and you get an explosion of CO2 gas that has catastrophic consequences if the build up is too large. In this case, thousands of villagers lost their lives as well as many more thousands of livestock animals.
4. Yellowstone Lake, USA
Scientists have recently found a new way that crater lakes can kill. In 2003, they mapped the floor of the stunning Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park, a very active volcanic region (hence the famous geysers).
There they discovered a 100-foot dome on the floor in Mary’s Bay. This dome was caused by water being heated under the lake bed, which then expands, building up pressure and creating the dome. A geyser is a small example, but unlike the dome in the lake, it has a relief valve. Without such a valve, there is a real hazard of what is known as a ‘hydrothermal explosions’.
3. Boiling Lake, Dominica
Boiling lake in Dominica is filled with bubbling superheated water that is enveloped in a vapor cloud. It is between 180 and 197 degrees Fahrenheit on the edges alone and will kill you in minutes. It is actually a flooded fumarole, a crack through which gases from molten lava below escape. The basin collects rainwater, and there are two streams which also empty into the lake, as well as groundwater seeping up through the hot rocks. For visitors, a slip here is really going to be a fall to one’s death.
2. Lake Rakshastal, Tibet
Lake Rakshastal in Tibet is the body of water on the left in this picture, and unlike its sister, Lake Manasarovar, is a saltwater lake. No plants or fish survive in this water and the locals consider it poisonous. (In fact, the myth is that it is the home of the 10-headed demon king, Lanka)
In Buddhism, Lake Manasarovar is shaped like the sun and represents brightness, while Lake Rakshastal, shaped like a crescent, represents darkness.
1. Lake Karachay, Russia
Lake Karachay is known as the most polluted spot on earth, its amazing beauty hiding the fact that it is the dumping spot for a nuclear waste facility in Russia.
It has enough radiation in it to kill a human in an hour, and in 1968, during drought conditions, dust from it and the surrounding shore irradiated half a million people. Another 7,000 residents who lived in the area were relocated.