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Benchmarking a slice of Africa; preserving biodiversity through science
Date:6/27/2011

orts by the Rwandan and Congolese governments to develop the underwater resource as a fuel source could temper the potential dangers associated with a gas-charged lake.

"Successful gas extraction will decrease the hazard as long as it doesn't upset the stability of the lake," Vodacek says. "The Rwandan government has already required hazard assessments, and they are full partners in our systems-based approach to hazard assessment and mitigation. They are showing due diligence in trying to understand what their extraction system does to the lake stability."

Hecky, Stephanie Guildford and Sergei Katsev of the University of Minnesota, Duluth, will make critical biological and chemical measurements of the water to help understand the production of methane in the lake. Hecky will sample lake sediments throughout the lake basin, extending analyses he first made on sediment cores extracted in 1971 and 1972. His early findings showed the occurrence of catastrophic lake overturns approximately every 1,000 years, perhaps resulting from earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions agitating and releasing the methane from the bottom layers of the lake. Chris Scholz, at Syracuse University, will profile the sediments and crust beneath Lake Kivu to map lake bottom volcanic vents and faults, and to provide a context for the University of Minnesota, Duluth, team's cores and water samples. Together they will assess the long-term changes in the physical structure of the sediment and bedrock under the lake. Hecky's group and Scholz will take measurements on the lake in December and January 2012 using specialized equipment on Scholz's vessel, which has been used to explore other African lakes.

Monitoring Earthquakes and VolcanoesEbinger will install Global Positioning System sensors and seismometers to map shallow magma reservoirs and active faults, identify regions of volcanic degassing and create an earthquake database to evaluate earthquake and volcanic h
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Contact: Susan Gawlowicz
smguns@rit.edu
585-475-5061
Rochester Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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