Lake Kivu is one among the three well known exploding lakes, the other two being Lake Monoun and Lake Nyos, which experience violent and frequent lake overturns. The Great Lakes of Africa include Lake Kivu, lying between Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. It finalizes its journey into the Ruzizi River, and the word Kivu in Bantu language means ‘lake’.
The total surface area covered by Lake Kivu is around 2700 square kilometers, standing at an elevation of about 1460 meters above the sea level and about 480 meters deep. This maximum depth which is ranked as eighteenth in the entire world is due to the reason that the lake bed of Lake Kivu rests upon a rift valley that is slowly drifting apart, causing great volcanic activity in this area, increasing its deepness. High and majestic mountains surround the lake.
Lake Kivu which is an exploding lake too has a gaseous chemical composition of carbon dioxide and methane which is composed because of the interaction of the Lake water with volcano. The risk arising from a possible overturn of Lake Kivu is unexpectedly devastating because of the comparatively good population of around two million people living in and around the lake basin. It has been recently found that Lake Kivu has about 55 billion cubic meters of methane gas dissolved at a depth of 300 meters. Seeing the extraction to be cost effective and a profitable business of selling electricity, the Rwandan government has taken steps to extract the gas from Lake Kivu on a large scale.
Lake Kivu has a relatively poor fish fauna. However native fish species include Clarias, Barbus, Nile Tilapia and Haplochromis, which forms the base for a new pelagic zone in fishery. Another significant point that needs special mention is that Idjwi, which is the tenth largest inland island in the whole world, lies in Lake Kivu!