We assessed the potential for limnic eruptions at lakes Nyos and Monoun, Cameroon on the basis of numerical modelling and CO2 profiles obtained by regular monitoring of the lakes. The change through time of the profiles suggests one particular scenario for producing an eruption: a supply of CO2-undersaturated fluid from the lake bottom that induces upwards growth of the CO2-rich bottom layer, leading eventually to CO2 saturation at mid-depths of the lake. By using a numerical model for the ascent of a plume of CO2 bubbles, we found that under realistic conditions (e.g. a profile of CO2 as deduced from the regular monitoring data), a bubble plume generated from the middle depths of the lake can reach the lake surface with a high flux of CO2, which corresponds to a limnic eruption. In addition, we developed a numerical model to investigate how changes in the CO2 concentration at the lake bottom affect the dynamics of a two-phase flow in the controlled degassing pipe, using the recently observed CO2 profiles. This model enables us to estimate the CO2 concentrations at the lake bottom from the heights of fountains that are observable at the lake surface.
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