Horseshoe Lake in Mammoth Mountain Area Is Full of Killer Gas

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Horseshoe Lake is a wonderful place within Long Valley Caldera Field in California.

It has everything one could ever want for outdoor excursions: boating, swimming, sandy beaches, picnic areas, hiking trails, and over 40 hectares (100 acres) of dead trees killed by gases sweeping from the magma beneath.

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That last, more unique feature is the result of a series of small earthquakes in 1989 and 1990. These quakes opened pathways for carbon dioxide to rise to the surface from magma below, eventually killing the trees.

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USGS

While there is little danger of a volcanic eruption, a potentially lethal risk lurks in the Horseshoe Lake area, as the gas levels fluctuate unpredictably, like in African killer lakes!

Areas of dead and dying trees at Mammoth Mountain volcano total more than 100 acres. In 1990, the year after a persistent swarm of small earthquakes occurred beneath the volcano, U.S. Forest Service rangers first noticed areas of tree kill. When U.S. Geological Survey scientists investigated, they discovered that the trees are being killed by high concentrations of CO2 gas in the soil. The seepage of CO2 gas from below Mammoth Mountain and the continued occurrence of local earthquakes are signs of the ongoing geologic unrest in the area., horseshoe lake mystery, mammoth mountain Horseshoe Lake, Invisible CO2 Gas Killing Trees at Mammoth Mountain, killing gas at horseshoe lake california, mammmoth mountain horseshoe lake california gas, Horseshoe Lake, Horseshoe Lake gas, Horseshoe Lake asphyxiating gas, co2 gas at Horseshoe Lake, Horseshoe Lake california, Horseshoe Lake california danger, Horseshoe lake panorama, horseshoe lake mystery
Areas of dead and dying trees at Mammoth Mountain volcano total more than 100 acres. In 1990, the year after a persistent swarm of small earthquakes occurred beneath the volcano, U.S. Forest Service rangers first noticed areas of tree kill. When U.S. Geological Survey scientists investigated, they discovered that the trees are being killed by high concentrations of CO2 gas in the soil.

A family could have a picnic on the lake one year and be asphyxiated the next.

Warning signs are posted around Horseshoe Lake to inform visitors of the danger. Carbon dioxide is heavier than air, making lower areas — such as depressions in the ground, or the shore and surface of the lake — more dangerous.

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USGS

Most of the time, Horseshoe Lake is safe. However, fatalities have occurred due to the gas.

A man died on the lake in 1998, and three ski patrol members fell into a snow pit on nearby Mammoth Mountain and asphyxiated in 2006.

In this video you see the effect of Lake Horseshoe carbon dioxide… Dead trees!

The seepage of CO2 gas from below Mammoth Mountain and the continuous occurrence of local earthquakes are signs of the ongoing geologic unrest in the area.

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5 COMMENTS

    • Thank you AnneBrit. The writer of this article is an idiot. Carbon Dioxide is what plants & TREES breath. This is proof propaganda works.

    • AnnBrit and Tim, you obviously did not pay attention in biology class. CO2 (carbon dioxide) Will cause asphyxiation. We breathe O2 (oxygen). So carbon dioxide will KILL YOU if you breathe it by itself. Actually, anything devoid of O2 will kill YOU.
      The problem is pockets of the gas are formed and there is no available oxygen. We mammals need it to live. And the little creepy crawly critters need some too. Also, trees are very susceptible to changes in the soil pH. SO IT WILL KILL TREES TOO

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