The Odessa American from Odessa, Texas on April 1, 2001 · 10
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The Odessa American from Odessa, Texas · 10

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Odessa, Texas
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 1, 2001
Page:
10
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r 10A ODESSA AMERICAN SUNDAY, April 1. 2001 Scientists loot; to drain gas from West African lake LAKE NYOS, Cameroon (AP) It began quietly, with a white mist that bubbled out of this crater lake deep in Cameroon's mountainous interior. The mist formed into a cloud, dropped over a cliff and poured down lush valleys, speeding silently through sleeping villages. Minutes later, the placid lake erupted, spewing out an enormous burst of water that created a 200-foot wave and a concentrated fog of carbon dioxide vented from deep inside the Earth, The cloud blasted through twisting valleys, spreading more than 12 miles before dissipating. In the villages closest to Lake Nyos, nearly everything died. Helicopters that swept overhead the next day found cows, dogs and birds lying in the green fields and neatly swept dirt yards. Nearly 90 percent of the people in the worst-hit villages were dead, many still in then-beds where the gas quietly smothered them. In all, some 1,700 people were killed. The exact number remains unknown, "It's printed on my mind," said Andrew Ewen, a 29-year-old schoolteacher who escaped the gas but lost 15 relatives in the 1986 disaster. "I remember it as the day when everything went wrong." L Onva recent afternoon, a small team of Cameroonian scientists watches from an inflatable boat as a thick jet of water shoots skyward from a raft tethered into the center of Lake Nyos. A plastic pipe, about twice the size of a fire hose, drops from the raft for 670 feet into the calm, steel-gray water, nearly reaching the lake floor, With the water shooting out comes something "We have nowhere else we can go." Celine Nkeng CAMEROON RESIDENT "TWO THUMBS UP!" "IOTS OF LAUGHS TO BE HMO" "in i i -I -H m,nmxtuuai heart BREAKeRS www.mgm.com ' -- CENTURY THEATRES ODESSA 12 Hwy. 19) at Preston Smith Rd. 366-FILM else: carbon dioxide gas. Fifteen years after Nyos exploded, the lake is slowly very slowly being drained of its danger. In February, an international team of scientists successfully completed the first phase in ensuring Lake Nyos does not blow again, installing a venting system to allow gas to escape, and a lakeshore alarm that wails if carbon dioxide levels are too high. The reason why it can be smelled in the air, tinged with smoke from brush fires set by farmers burning fields ahead of the planting season. The Lake Nyos area may remain officially off limits to everyone but scientists and soldiers, but : hundreds, if ,not thousands, of people have returned. And so has the gas. "The danger is very high," said George Kling, a scientist with the de-gassing team, speaking from his office at the University of Michigan. "The gas in the lake could be released at any time." Carbon dioxide, a non-toxic gas that is seldom harmful in small amounts, bubbles up from deep underground, seeping through cracks of old volcanoes throughout Cameroon's mountains. In most places the gas blows out harmlessly, but . at Nyos it builds up in enormous amounts on the lake bottom trapped by the weight of the water. An overwhelming gas concentration or sudden outside factor such as a landslide can churn up the carbon dioxide-laden waters, causing a sudden eruption of m 1 1 a wm 12:00-2:05-4:20-7:00-9:05 1:00-3:15-5:20-7:30-9:45 No Passes or VIPS All You Can Eat 2931 E. Hwy: 80 Odessa, Tx 334-6899 STEVEN SEAGAL DMX A A M 'THIS. IS- GONNA HURT l H iRl-". rM- "3i?$lNa bNIWODQAIzl tUOAEUEMT Hwy 191 ai Presioii Sniuh Rrt 0.33) f.US O.U3 ENGAGEMENT J 366-34 ' ? 9:40 10:25 SOMEONE LIKE YOU PG-13) 12:00-2,1 0( 4:25) 7:10-9:40 Academy Award Winner GLADIATOR mi 12:35( 4:00) 7 00-10:00 HEARTBREAKERS (PG-i3 12:05-2:401 5:1 5) 7:50-10:30 THE BROTHERS mi 12:3O-2:50( 5:00) 7:30-9:45 Academy Awaid Winner CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON pg-igi 1Z:1U-Z:4U 5:ZUl :ai-10:3u digital Academy Award Win TRAFFIC (B 1:05( 4 00) 7:00-10:00 THE MEXICAN ,i 12:0O-2:35 5:10) 7:50-10:25 OiGITAL EXIT WOUNDS mi 12:05-1 :00-2:2O-3:3O( 4:45-5:55) 7:05-8:05-9 40-10:25 32 CHOCOLAT,pa-i3i DKSrTAL '12:15-2:451 5:20) 8:00-10:20 vjnn lucHniniPG-U) :12:15-2:15(4:15) 6:15-8:15-10 20 digital jO BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?ipg-i3i OK3ITAI '12:10-2 251 4 45) 715-9 45 oksital 1 "THREE LITTLE WORDS.. Prr1 T" i iif Ar- i SEE THISTVDVIE!' MTV RADIO 4 pnonr-7 jJ il. "'A 1 hcy couldn't get lucky if they tried. ityi&f mdatrtp.crrVtomcats gas, much like shaking a bottle of soda. The gas kills by blocking oxygen to the lungs, suffocating its victims. At Nyos, the single pipe is releasing only slightly more gas than naturally seeps into the lake. Scientists say they need four or five additional pipes to sufficiently reduce carbon dioxide levels. However, that could cost $2 million more, and there are no donors in sight. Living with the risk of another eruption is part of daily life for the scientists working at the lake. They know the signs of danger odd smells, watery eyes but they also know that if the carbon dioxide alarm goes off and they are unable to race up the hills fast enough to stay above the gas, their last breaths will not be of oxygen. Few, though, appear worried. To the scientists drawn here from around the world, living on the crater rim in a sprawl of tents and half-built wooden structures everyone calls Nyos -City, the lake , offers a fascinating phenomenon to study They quickly get lost hi their work. They can also see the villagers returning. "At first I was afraid," said Luc Sigha, a hydrochemist with the Cameroonian team monitoring the venting program. "But we're giving life to other people here." The people around Lake Nyos, impoverished farmers and cattle-herders living in mud-walled homes far from electricity and telephones, know a great deal about fear. The survivors remember stumbling through corpse-filled villages. The,y remember getting out of hospitals to find their homes looted of everything from cooking pots to tin roofs. They still talk about the strange noises and the stench of sulfur that drifted from the lake that evening. They recall the rumors that sped along the area's dirt roads after the explosion, rumors of skirmishes, bombs and villages devoid of life. Still, they are back. "We have nowhere else we can go," said Celine Nkeng, a bent-over woman hoeing fields of corn and yams just a few miles away. "This is the only place where we can grow enough food to feed our children." The land around Nyos is highly fertile, with a dark, rich soil. Keeping farmers from it in a country where almost a third of the country is unemployed and 40 percent live in poverty is nearly impossible. "Most of these people were born here, and are very attached to their ancestral roots," said Gregory Tanyileke, a geochemist from Cameroon's Institute for Geological and Mining Research who runs' the program monitoring the vent. "No matter what happens, they'll return." 1 -t!f?iM sntm 3 Stadium Seating Digital Surround Sound THX BARGAIN MATINEES INDICATED () SPTBDS (PfiJoo (12:0O-2:05-40)-7:00-9:OS SEE SPOT RUN (PE) eh (12:1 5-2:40-4:55-7:1 5-9:30 SPT KIDS (PC) EH (1:00-3:15-501-7:30-9:45 ElEmjraUTESJIILEBJ 1:OW:001-7:IIO-9: TOM UTS (R EH (12:00-2M:35j-7:15-9:30 UT IT ISN'T SO (R CO 12:00-2:1 W:35-7:05-5 CAST AWAT (P6-13) (2:00-5:00-t:15 RECESS: SCHOOL'S ( cm (125-225430) HANNIEtJU. (R) 7:00-9:45 WHAT WOMEN WIT (Pt-13) EH . MISS COXCEIUUTf (PG-13 era (12:1M:50-725 SWEET NOVEMBER (Pt-13) EZH . (2:30)-9:50 HANNIBAL (R) 4:15-90 MfM'Mcn (2:001-7:05 :00-4:00-7:00-9: NoPassesVIPS 4 ; NO VIP PASSES SUPERSAVERS S2 00 ALL SEATS-ALL SHQWS-TUESDAV 50c -ALL SHOWS VAUMIH (ft) 13 DATS P-I3) SUCMSriCE(PM3)ETB FINDING FORESTER (PB-13) 1:40-4:25-7:10-3:30 1:35-4:20-7:05-9:5(1 2:15-4:45-7:15-1:40 1:35-4:20-7:05-9:50 MEET THE PMEWTS P6-13I1. 2:11-4:40-7:05-9:35 DUDE WHERE'S MY (PG-13) 2:30-4:30-7:00-9:15 VERTICAL LIMIT (P6-13) 1:45-4:20-7:10-9:45 galvlL',lJHIrfltlfa17AJ!1?ll. Annual CitvWtde April 1st -4:30 7:00 PM EirativOKG T . ' Sponsored bv tloyd bwin Park First Baptist Church & Mission Odessa V RAUL RAMOS, M.D; Infants, children & adolescents ANNOUNCES RELOCATION OF HIS OFFICE TO: 419 West 4th Suite 205 Odessa, Texas 79761 Please call for appointments at (915) 580-5400 Now accepting New Patients . JL- GET $30 OFF THE UJ" ' WORLD'S MOST PRESCRIBED I - " CONTAQ LENSES I ' Z2S 1 Visit )ur partitipating Eye Core Professional for on eye exam and expert 0 ooVke on ciSoosing the type of ACUVUE" (lljD Brand Gnract Lens rhot's for jrou. Purchase eJ- your lenses from the some examining Texas State Othcm. professional. Then follow these four easy fvkvwi).vkTiu steps to receive $30 off a year's supply of ACUVUE, A0miE2, BIFOCAL, TORIC, 420 North Grant SUREVUE' w off 1-DAY ACUVUE. Downtown Odessa a -i i i ir 2-0717 AvUVUt JJJU XJ I X 0 CONTACT fciM 9 HMBHBHpiHWHaHiaJ . v &4fr', i.V, 1 - "i" , AP PHOTO A scientist heads towards the de-gassing fountain on an inflatable boat on Lake Nyos in- the northwestern Cameroon, March 8, 2001. Fifteen years after Nyos exploded, the lake is very slowly being drained of its danger. But scientists say the carbon dioxide levels in Nyos are currently higher than at the time of the explosion. The Market Grill & Bar Catering fSh Lunckeon , Ey Buffet ft W 'Party The Globe of the Great Southwest presents GOSPEL featuring Pete Almanza & Mary Ellis CountryWestern Sagebrush Sounds & Jennifer Mahan Keen Saturday. April 7, 2001 - 7:00PM TICKETS: in advance $5.00 at door $6.00 2308 Shakespeare Road (Odessa College Campus) For Reservations call (91 5) 332-1 586 or (915) 580-31 77 l.bpls & 1&h?leumd 362-2385 It r Jim rii 'iojMttj,, sonieorie iiKjgyou w-A sofneonei(ieeyouTiovie com NOW PLAYING CENTURY THEATRES CENTURY ODESSA 12 Hwv. 191 iSt Prwton 5mrth Rrf DcnieAtMiwKTOiToscj.F06SHOmii(si!sitatoscu: 366-3456 4 . A I SOROtEAD Sat, April 7 -All Day Sunday., April 8 Noon 5 p.m. HELD ON THE HISTORIC DOWNTOWN STREETS OF STANTON, TEXAS JUST A SHOOT AS MINUTE A9IJT tV Entertainment, Arts & Crafts, Antiques, A AftiVOLUTION FFTI PICTURES P.O. Box 86 Stanton, TX 70782 015756-2006 No Passes -VI PS A )W- 1 .... & f tf r ail

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