Killer Lakes – A Very Weird Natural Disaster

By Anupum Pant

In the Northwest Cameroon (Africa) there’s a lake which is commonly  known among the locals as “The Bad Lake”. The official name of this lake however is, lake Nyos. This is one of those three or four special lakes in the world which are mostly know for their mass killings. The locals living near the lake Nyos in particular have a very grim story to tell from the past.

The Story

A seemingly innocuous landslide occurred on August 21st, 1986. This created a mini tsunami and sent red water (due to iron) flying 300 feet in the air. There was nothing really dangerous about the flying water. But, as a result if this landslide, it is believed that about 1.2 cubic kilometres of carbon dioxide from the lake Nyos got released. The trigger could have been something else, but the gas that got released was carbon dioxide for sure.

This rare kind of a natural disaster is known as a Limnic Eruption or Lake overturn. There are just 2 other lakes known where scientists think this can happen – Lake Monoun, Cameroon, and Lake Kivu of Congo

The huge amount of CO2, being heavier than air, spread into the nearby low-lying villages in a range of 25 km. People had nowhere to escape and nearly everyone died. Only a few hundreds who acted quick, and escaped to higher ground on vehicles could save themselves. That day, 1,700 people and 3,600 livestock got suffocated to death.

Why it Happened

volcanoLake Nyos like only a few other lakes in the world was formed about 400 years ago on a huge crater. Far below the lake there’s magma and it spews CO2 continuously into the lake, forming huge amounts of carbonated water (a good thing for Coke lovers). The CO2 doesn’t usually release in a single go all the time. It happens gradually, and the pipes now installed to fix this keep releasing CO2 all the time (The pressure of gas also carries water along to form a beautiful fountain).

Sometimes however, due to some triggers, the CO2 can get released in a single go and cause the absurd natural disaster which ends up killing thousands.

The Lake Kivu which is in Congo probably holds a much worse headline for the future. This one is about a 1000 times larger than lake Nyos and is surrounded by heavily populated towns. There’s magma below it too and any sort of disruption could cause massive amounts of carbon dioxide to release into the nearby towns. To add to the fears, researchers have found that the massive lake Kivu’s life goes extinct every 1000 years. We can only wait and watch what happens…

The Greenest Invader in the History

By Anupum Pant

Background

The impact of human activities on climate change is by no means new. It is not an 1800s or 1900s thing. It did not start happening when we started burning huge amounts of coal or oil. In fact, human impact on the climate has been here for a long long time now. It started happening about thousands of years ago when our ancestors started clearing forests to make land for cultivation. The impact was less back then, but it had started.

So, basically an overly simplified equation has been like this – more humans, more cleared forests (for cultivation), more carbon emissions.

All these years humans have also been hit by some very unfortunate historical events which have resulted in the death of a great number of people.  Of course these events like the fall of Ming dynasty,  Black death and Conquest of America were sad events. They resulted in a massive wipe-out of human population which we would not wish to see ever again.

However, the huge number of deaths that happened due to these unfortunate events did have a common salubrious effect on our planet. Huge tracts of cultivated lands turned back into forests. As a result, great amounts of carbon dioxide got absorbed and there was effectively a global cooling happening.

The Mongol Invasion

Among all these historical events, one stands out – The Mongol invasion which lasted for about 150 years and covered more than 20% of Earth’s surface.

After founding the Mongol empire, Genghis Khan has been believed to have started these Mongol invasions. Time and again he was involved in the decimation of huge settlements. It is estimated that these invasions led by Genghis Khan resulted in the death of a whopping 40 Million people!

Death of so many people meant that the cultivated lands of settlements started turning back into forests and these forests ended up absorbing huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the air. Result – Global cooling (kinda).

It is estimated that the Genghis Khan invasions helped remove about 700 Million tons of carbon from the atmosphere. That about the same as a whole year of carbon that is being put back into the air due to burning of petrol today, in this industrialised world!

Genghis Khan has been branded the greenest invader in history.

Random Genghis Khan fact:
1 in 200 men are direct descendants of Genghis Khan – [Source]

Hit like if you learnt something today.

Intelligent Men Look Different – Says Science

By Anupum Pant

Background

I know, I’m not a very big fan of intelligence scores or IQ points measured using the standard IQ tests available today. And even if this study does rely on those scores, I still find it pretty interesting. You will too…

Judging a book by its cover isn’t unwise after all. A recent study published by researchers from the Czech Republic proves that all of us humans have a natural ability to estimate how intelligent a man really is, by just looking at his facial features. That said, the study also mentions that you can’t judge a woman’s intelligence by observing her facial features. It works for only men. However, both men and women have this ability to estimate the intelligence of a man by looking at his face.

The study finds no solid correlation between the features of a woman’s face and their intelligence. That means, to find out about how intelligent a woman is, you’ll have to dig deeper than just the facial features.

People can accurately judge intelligence by looking at faces of men, but not women.

The study did not use a very huge sample – Still pictures of 40 men and 40 women were used. Nevertheless even 80 pictures contribute a significant amount to science. No experiment is a bad one. We’ll probably see more such studies and know more about the phenomenon in the near future.

They also measured the intelligence of these 80 people using standard IQ tests and asked people to rate their intelligence. It was found that people were able to almost accurately tell the IQ of a man by looking at his picture!

How do we do it?

We have an inbuilt ability to spot the shape and features of intelligent men. This could be a pretty logical evolutionary trait.

Faces of intelligent men: According to the researchers, longer faces with greater distance between the eyes, pointy chins, larger noses, slightly smiley lips are the features of highly intelligent men.

Faces of not so intelligent men: Whereas broader and rounded faces with eyes closer to each other, shorter faces, sad lips and bigger chins are the signs which tell us that a man is not so intelligent.

Here see the difference yourself. What do you think? Could you spot it? Which one of these faces is the closest to your face? Tell me in the comments below. Tell me about mine too.

intelligent face

Did you like this article?

Every day I send out a newsletter with an un-cut new article and exclusive content for readers. It’s basically my way of keeping in touch with you and letting you know what’s going on. Your information is protected and I never spam.

Subscribe from the sidebar to stay connected. Feel free to reply to these newsletters too…