EDUCATION: A Day at the Lake

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Science  10 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5532, pp. 1019
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5532.1019c

Although this gaudy turquoise lake looks inviting, you wouldn't want to dip a toe into its seething water, which has a pH lower than battery acid. Tiwo Nua Muri Koohi Fah on the Indonesian island of Flores is one of the planet's 80 or so volcanic lakes, bodies of water trapped within a crater. Find out more about these intriguing lakes—some of which may replicate the torrid, chemical-rich conditions under which life first appeared—at this site created by hydrologist Greg Pasternack of the University of California, Davis.

Researchers can study papers by Pasternack and colleagues on the classification of volcanic lakes or scour a bibliography with more than 200 entries. Aimed at a broader audience is the collection of links profiling 15 lakes—from Crater Lake in Oregon to Cameroon's Lake Nyos, which in 1986 belched a pall of carbon dioxide that smothered more than 1800 people. Hoping to forestall another catastrophe, scientists are working to “degas” the water by venting the carbon dioxide.

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