Sources and sinks of methane in Lake Kivu



Africa's Lake Kivu, which borders Rwanda and the Republic of the Congo, contains huge amounts of methane (an estimated 60 cubic kilometers) and carbon dioxide (an estimated 300 cubic kilometers). Although the methane could provide a source of energy if it could be tapped, the high concentrations of gases pose a risk of dangerous gas eruptions, threatening the local population. Furthermore, it has been reported that concentrations of methane have risen by as much as 15% in the past 30 years. Scientists need to learn more about the sources and sinks of methane in Lake Kivu to better assess the risk of catastrophic outgassing and sustainability of methane harvesting.