There are many god-forsaken places in the world where birds never sing and trees never grow. Locals usually say that such places are cursed, although it may not always be so. Scientists believe that it can happen just because of poisonous air.
Lake Kakhynaidakh in Russia’s Yakutia Republic is known as Devil’s Lake. The water in the lake is dark, its shores are obstructed with charred trees, piles of coal slags and burnt clay. They may often find dead bodies of animals and even humans near the lake, and no one has ever been able to determine their cause of death.
The story happened in the beginning of the 20th century. A local fisherman cast a net one day in the lake when he suddenly saw that the water started boiling before his very eyes. The next moment the man heard an explosion, he fell down on the ground and covered himself with a tent-cloth. He stayed there still until everything went quiet. The man stood up and found his clothes damaged with fire on the back. The fish in his sweep-net was boiled. The fisherman pulled the net out of the hot water and ran away. The lake was later dubbed as Devil’s Lake, and no one dared to approach the cursed place ever since.
Geologists supposed that the explosion described in the legend had occurred because of coal deposits that were burning deep under the ground. Most likely, the fisherman witnessed a methane explosion that occurred underneath the lake.
Another anomalous zone is located in Russia’s Kamchatka, not far from the Geyser Valley. The zone is known as the Death Valley. Remnants of dead animals can be found everywhere in the valley of death. There is hardly any vegetation there; the rocks on the slopes are covered with sulfur depositions. One can smell sulphuretted hydrogen in the air.
The people who find themselves in the area, soon get the feeling of dry mouth. Afterwards, they suffer from headache, the blood pressure rises and they may have nausea and dizziness. A person will recover about 30 minutes after leaving the place.
Scientists say that people have those symptoms in the valley because of carbon dioxide and sulphuretted hydrogen poisoning. The gases evaporate from the depth as a result of volcanic activity. It took scientists quite a while to understand why death occurs so quickly. For example, a huge bear died once soon after he ate the meat one of the animals that died in the valley. The discovery was made only in 1982, when scientists found highly concentrated poisonous cyanic composites in the volcanic evaporations.
Lakes Nyos and Monoun in Cameroon are known for their ill reputation too. The lakes were formed in volcanic craters about 500 years ago. The bottoms of the lakes are covered with magma. Gases come out of the volcano, blend with ground waters and get accumulated in bottom layers of the lakes. If something troubles the gases – a strong wind, a landslide or an earthquake – the solutions begin to produce carbonic acid. It literally shoots up in the sky. The cloud of gas kills all living beings many kilometers around. Thirty-seven people were killed in August 1984 when Lake Monoun exploded. About 1,800 people were killed on August 21, 1986 on the shores on Lake Nyos under similar circumstances.
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