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In 1986, Lake Nyos, a volcanic lake located in Cameroon, Africa, released a huge amount of carbon dioxide gas, killing over 1,700 people and countless livestock and other animals in the area. This case, intended for use in a limnology or an aquatic biology course, explores that event, introducing students to concepts related to lake formation, thermal stratification, and dissolved gases. Students interpret graphs containing temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and conductivity data for the lake, and then synthesize these different types of limnological data to understand what happened.
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