Lake Kivu pp 1-11 | Cite as

Lake Kivu: Past and Present

  • Jean-Pierre Descy
  • François Darchambeau
  • Martin Schmid
Chapter
Part of the Aquatic Ecology Series book series (AQEC, volume 5)

Abstract

Lake Kivu, located in the Eastern African Rift, in a dramatic volcanic scenery, has fascinated the local people, inspiring legends; the explorers of the nineteenth century, inspiring romantic reports; and the scientists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, inspiring limnological and geochemical research. For some, Lake Kivu is a “killer lake”, containing vast amounts of carbon dioxide and methane in its deep, anoxic waters, and it has been compared to Lakes Nyos and Monoun, whose eruptions caused massive animal and human death in Cameroon. Fortunately, methane gas exploitation can help to reduce the eruption risk and at the same time supply an important amount of energy for the benefit of local development. However, the management of the lake resources, including methane harvesting and fisheries, is complex, and particular care must be taken during gas exploitation in order to avoid any negative impacts on the ecosystem and the goods and services provided by the lake.

In this chapter, the history of research on Lake Kivu is summarized, and the major findings that resulted from expeditions by British, Belgian, American, and German researchers are presented.

Keywords

Deep Water Lake Breeze Pilot Power African Great Lake East African Lake 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Most of the results synthesized in this book were obtained in projects conducted since 2002 in collaboration with African and European friends and colleagues, some of them being co-authors in publications and in the chapters of the book: Pascal Isumbisho Mwapu, Hugo Sarmento, Laetitia Nyina-wamwiza, Pascal Masilya Mulungula, Natacha Tofield-Pasche, Alberto Vieira Borges, Wim Vyverman, Steven Bouillon, Pierre Servais, Boniface Kaningini Mwenyimali, Véronique Gosselain, Jean Guillard, Michel Halbwachs, and Claudien Kabera. Many enthusiastic PhD and master students also participated in the research and in data acquisition: Jérôme Toussaint, Nathalie Homblette, Pierre-Yves Vanherck, Sébastien Knops, Marie-France Kawera, Théoneste Nzayisenga, Päivi Rinta, Katrin Ehlert, Toni Frank, Lukas Jarc, Fabrice Muvundja, and Jean-Népomuscène Namugize. We also acknowledge the discreet but key role of the technicians and fishermen who carried out the sampling on Lake Kivu (with a special mention for the team of Kalengera, Bukavu Bay) and field and laboratory measurements (Bruno Leporcq, Marc-Vincent Commarieu, Georges Alunga, Sylvain Nzaramba Ngeyo, Antoine Ntamavukiro, Michael Schurter, Christian Dinkel, Ruth Stierli, Francisco Vazquez, Oliver Scheidegger, Alois Zwyssig, Mathieu Yalire, Fidèle Kanamugire and his boat crew).

The story began earlier, with an encounter of one of us (JPD) with George Hanek on the shore of Lake Ihéma, back to 1989. George was at that time director of the FAO “Isambaza” project, and took interest in the studies by Rose Mukankomeje, PhD student at University of Namur, who attempted to relate primary production with fish production in Lake Muhazi. George Hanek suspected that similar relations could explain the large seasonal variations of fisheries yield in Lake Kivu, evidenced by Michel Lamboeuf. However, it was only more than 10 years later, through a long-term collaboration between ISP-Bukavu and University of Namur, that projects centred on the lake ecology developed. In particular, the UERHA (“Unité d’Enseignement et de Recherches en Hydrobiologie Appliquée”) of ISP, led by Prof. Boniface Kaningini Mwenyimali, played a key role, with the objective of establishing a long-term program of limnological research, chiefly on Lake Kivu. In that framework, several cooperation and research projects were initiated, in which African and European scientists and students became involved. Financing came first from University of Namur, then from CUD (“Commission Universitaire pour le Développement”, Belgium), from FRS-FNRS (“Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique”, Belgium), and the local partnership was extended to NUR (National University of Rwanda at Butare), with Canisius Kanangire, Jean-Bosco Gashagaza and Laetitia Nyina-wamwiza as successive leaders. Financing also came from the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office through the EAGLES (East African Great Lake Ecosystem Sensitivity to changes, SD/AR/02A) project. Mission grants were awarded to several Belgian students by CUD, the “Fonds Léopold III”, and the “Fonds pour Favoriser la Recherche en Afrique”. Eawag became involved in research on Lake Kivu with an emergency expedition following the eruption of Nyiragongo in 2002, financed by EC-ECHO. Further financial support came from Eawag, UN-OCHA, and the Research Partnership project “Nutrient cycling and methane production in Lake Kivu” (207021-109710) funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The research of Eawag on Lake Kivu was only possible thanks to the dedicated scientific and administrative support of Alfred Wüest and the involvement of Bernhard Wehrli, Beat Müller, Helmut Bürgmann, Flavio Anselmetti, Mike Sturm and Carsten Schubert, as well as the local administrative support by Augusta Umutoni and Charles Nyirahuku. The research carried out in the Belgian universities benefited from the assistance of several people, as Philippe Leroy and Yves Mine.

We are grateful to the funding institutions and to their representatives, including the persons involved in the administrations and in the evaluation committees, for their support.

Finally, we would like to thank the reviewers whose useful comments improved the quality of the different chapters of this book: Sally McIntyre (Chap. 2), Harvey Bootsma (Chap. 3), Sebastian Sobek (Chap. 4), Stephanie Guildford (Chap. 5), Josep Gasol (Chap. 6), Sean Crowe (Chap. 6), Kenneth Irvine (Chap. 7), Tetsumi Takahashi (Chap. 8), Elie Verleyen (Chap. 9), Michel Halbwachs (Chap. 10), and Klaus Tietze (Chap. 10).

References

  1. Al-Mutlaq KF, Standley LJ, Simoneit BRT (2008) Composition and sources of extractable organic matter from a sediment core in Lake Kivu, East African rift valley. Appl Geochem 23:1023–1040. doi: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2007.07.013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beadle LC (1981) The inland waters of tropical Africa: an introduction to tropical limnology, 2nd edn. Longman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Capart A (1959) A propos de l’introduction du Ndakala (Stolothrissa tanganyikae) dans le Lac Kivu. Bull Agric Congo Belg Ruanda-Urundi 4:1083–1088Google Scholar
  4. Capart A (1960) Le Lac Kivu. Nat Belg 41:397–417Google Scholar
  5. Capart A, Kufferath J (1956) Recherches hydrobiologiques au Congo belge et leurs résultats pratiques. Bull Agric Congo Belg 47:1–27Google Scholar
  6. Collart A (1960) L’introduction du Stolothrissa tanganicae (Ndagala) au lac Kivu. Bull Agric Congo Belg 51:975–985Google Scholar
  7. Cunnington WA (1920) The fauna of the African Lakes: a study in comparative limnology with special reference to Tanganyika. Proc Zool Soc London 90:507–622. doi: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.1920.tb03243.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Damas H (1937) Quelques caractères écologiques de trois lacs équatoriaux: Kivu, Edouard, Ndalaga. Ann Soc Roy Zool Bel 68:121–135Google Scholar
  9. Degens ET, von Herzen RP, Wong H-K, Deuser WG, Jannasch HW (1973) Lake Kivu: structure, chemistry and biology of an East African Rift Lake. Geol Rundsch 62:245–277. doi: 10.1007/BF01826830 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Deuser WG, Degens ET, Harvey GT, Rubin M (1973) Methane in Lake Kivu: new data bearing on its origin. Science 181:51–53. doi:10.1126/science.181.4094.51Google Scholar
  11. Haberyan KA, Hecky RE (1987) The late pleistocene and holocene stratigraphy and paleolimnology of Lakes Kivu and Tanganyika. Palaeogeogr Palaeocl 61:169–197. doi: 10.1016/0031-0182(87) 90048-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hundshagen F (1909) Analyse einiger ostafrikanischer Wässer. Z öffentliche Chem 15:201–205Google Scholar
  13. Kling GW, Clark MA, Compton HR, Devine JD, Evans WC, Humphrey AM, Koenigsberg EJ, Lockwood JP, Tuttle ML, Wagner GN (1987) The 1986 Lake Nyos gas disaster in Cameroon, West Africa. Science 236:169–175. doi: 10.1126/science.236.4798.169 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lorke A, Tietze K, Halbwachs M, Wüest A (2004) Response of Lake Kivu stratification to lava inflow and climate warming. Limnol Oceanogr 49:778–783. doi: 10.4319/lo.2004.49.3.0778 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Newbury DS (1980) Lake Kivu regional trade in the nineteenth century. J Africanistes 50:7–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Newman FC (1976) Temperature steps in Lake Kivu: a bottom heated saline lake. J Phys Oceanogr 6:157–163. doi:10.1175/1520-0485(1976)006<0157:TSILKA>2.0.CO;2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Pagès A (1920) Au Rwanda sur les bords du lac Kivou (Congo Belge). Anthropos 14–15:944–967Google Scholar
  18. Pasche N, Schmid M, Vazquez F, Schubert CJ, Wüest A, Kessler JD, Pack MA, Reeburgh WS, Bürgmann H (2011) Methane sources and sinks in Lake Kivu. J Geophys Res Biogeosciences 116:G03006. doi: 10.1029/2011JG001690 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Schmid M, Tietze K, Halbwachs M, Lorke A, McGinnis D, Wüest A (2004) How hazardous is the gas accumulation in Lake Kivu? Arguments for a risk assessment in light of the Nyiragongo Volcano eruption of 2002. Acta Vulcanol 14/15:115–121Google Scholar
  20. Schmid M, Halbwachs M, Wehrli B, Wüest A (2005) Weak mixing in Lake Kivu: new insights indicate increasing risk of uncontrolled gas eruption. Geochem Geophys Geosyst 6:Q07009. doi: 10.1029/2004GC000892 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Schmitz D, Kufferath J (1955) Problèmes posés par la présence de gaz dissous dans les eaux profondes du Lac Kivu. Acad Roy Sci Coloniales, Bull Séances 1:326–356Google Scholar
  22. Schoell M, Tietze K, Schoberth SM (1988) Origin of methane in Lake Kivu (East-Central Africa). Chem Geol 71:257–265. doi: 10.1016/0009-2541(88)90119-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sigurdsson H, Devine JD, Tchua FM, Presser FM, Pringle MKW, Evans WC (1987) Origin of the lethal gas burst from Lake Monoun, Cameroun. J Volcanol Geoth Res 31:1–16. doi: 10.1016/0377-0273(87)90002-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sigvaldason GE (1989) International Conference on Lake Nyos Disaster, Yaounde, Cameroon 16–20 March, 1987 – conclusions and recommendations. J Volcanol Geoth Res 39:97–107. doi: 10.1016/0377-0273(89)90050-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Speke JH (1863) Journal of the discovery of the source of the Nile. W. Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh and LondonGoogle Scholar
  26. Spliethoff PC, de Iongh HH, Frank VG (1983) Success of the introduction of the freshwater Clupeid Limnothrissa miodon (Boulanger) in Lake Kivu. Fish Manag 14:17–31Google Scholar
  27. Tietze K (1978) Geophysikalische Untersuchung des Kivusees und seiner ungewöhnlichen Methangaslagerstätte – Schichtung, Dynamik und Gasgehalt des Seewassers. PhD Thesis, Christian-Albrechts-Universität KielGoogle Scholar
  28. Tietze K (1981) Direct measurements of the in-situ density of lake and sea water with a new underwater probe system. Geophysica 17:33–45Google Scholar
  29. Tietze K (1992) Cyclic gas bursts: are they a ‘usual’ feature of Lake Nyos and other gas-bearing lakes? In: Freeth SJ, Ofoegbu CO, Onouha KM (eds) Natural hazards in West and Central Africa. Vieweg, BraunschweigGoogle Scholar
  30. Tietze K (2007) Basic plan for monitoring, regulating and steering of the unique methane gas deposit in Lake Kivu: safely, environmentally soundly and with optimal yield. Report commissioned by the W+T Beteiligungs AG. Celle, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  31. Tietze K, Geyh M, Müller H, Schröder L, Stahl W, Wehner H (1980) The genesis of methane in Lake Kivu (Central Africa). Geol Rundsch 69:452–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Verbeke J (1957) Exploration hydrobiologique des lacs Kivu, Edouard et Albert. Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique, BruxellesGoogle Scholar
  33. von Götzen CA (1895) Durch Afrika von Ost nach West. D. Reimer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  34. Wong H-K, Von Herzen RP (1974) A geophysical study of Lake Kivu, East Africa. Geophys J R Astr Soc 37:371–389. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.1974.tb04091.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Zhang Y, Kling GW (2006) Dynamics of lake eruptions and possible ocean eruptions. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci 34:293–324. doi: 10.1146/annurev.earth.34.031405.125001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Pierre Descy
    • 1
  • François Darchambeau
    • 2
  • Martin Schmid
    • 3
  1. 1.Research Unit in Environmental and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of NamurNamurBelgium
  2. 2.Chemical Oceanography UnitUniversity of LiègeLiègeBelgium
  3. 3.Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and TechnologyKastanienbaumSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations