Taming the killer lakes of Cameroon



A chain of volcanoes, some of them still active, extends from the Atlantic Ocean into the highlands of Cameroon. Mount Cameroon, located at the edge of the continent, erupted in 1999 and 2000 and spewed lava part-way down its flanks, cutting off a coastal road. A number of the now extinct (or dormant) volcanic craters on the continental part of the line are filled with water, forming crater lakes. These lakes have achieved mythical status in local tribal lore. Lacking a written history, prior to the arrival of the colonial powers, much of our understanding of past natural phenomena relating to the lakes is based on these myths.