The wind, the water, a picnic by the lake, jumping in on a hot, summer day. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? But no matter where your next lake getaway is, be cautious not to jump into one of these six most dangerous lakes in the world.
There are many mountain lakes atop the Watt Mountain in Morne Trois Pitons National Park, but there’s one that’s quite unlike the rest. Nick-named the Boiling Lake, this lake is a far cry from cool and breezy, in fact, it’s almost boiling hot.
Fuelled by the lava underneath, this flooded fumarole (a crack or a hole in the Earth's crust), has a bubbling maelstrom of water in the centre and emanates a thick cloud of steam, which ominously surrounds it. Needless to say, jumping into this misty wonder is not a great idea, unless severe burns sounds like a good time.
The stifling Texas heat makes Jacob’s Well a welcome escape to divers to jump into its cool, deep waters—some, to their deaths. The elaborate network of underwater caves stretching endlessly down the well plunge over 100ft down. About 6,000ft of passages have been documented going down to well till date.
Only researchers with proper permits are allowed to explore the depths of Jacob’s Well, due to its high fatality rate. But if you’re looking for a slightly less-thrilling day at the lake, feel free to dip your toes or swim around the opening to Texas’ second largest fully submerged cave.
The extreme waters of Tanzania’s Lake Natron are as deadly as they are beautiful. Water flows into the lake, but doesn’t have an outlet to drain out of. As a consequence, as the water evaporates, it leaves behind high concentrations of salt—making it a salt lake, like the Dead Sea.
The water is extremely alkaline and it’s pH is almost as high as that of ammonia. The natron chemical in the lake is a mixture of sodium carbonate and baking soda and is in enough concentration to calcify the lake’s visiting fauna. It can reach temperatures as high as 140°F (60°C).
The caustic salt-loving algae give the lake an eerie red hue.
Dozens of acres of dead trees surround the Horseshoe Lake in California, making it a great spot for picnics and hiking. A series of earthquakes between 1989 and 1990 opened paths for carbon dioxide to escape from the magma below, resulting in the dead trees.
There are warning signs around the lake since the levels of carbon dioxide fluctuate not only over the lake, but also in the area around it, depending on the depressions in the ground. While safe for the most part, the lake has documented some fatalities due to the gas.
The lake also has certain amounts of hydrogen sulphide, which give it a characteristic rotten egg smell. Hydrogen sulphide is lethal. The Horseshoe Lake emits roughly 50-150 tons of carbon dioxide per day.
One of Africa’s Great Lakes, Lake Kivu also emits a cocktail of deadly gases. The waters of this Rwandan lake are almost saturated with methane and carbon dioxide, caused by a series of limnic eruptions, or lake explosions.
In order to prevent another catastrophic eruption, the government turned to this methane as a source of energy, and tap this source of gas before it explodes. There are over two million people living along Lake Kivu.
A gaping sinkhole that drops straight down over 100m, the Blue Hole in Dahab is one of Egypt’s most infamous dive sites.
It is most dangerous when inexperienced divers dive beyond the sport-diving limit. The sinkhole is connected to the open ocean through an archway at about 65km. It is easy for under-prepared divers to miss this archway and lose all sense of direction, eventually running out of air.
The leading cause of fatalities at the Blue Hole is nitrogen narcosis, which can cause mental and physical impairment when the body is subjected to high pressure.