Sergei Katsev

Associate Professor • Large Lakes Observatory & Department of Physics • University of Minnesota Duluth


Curriculum Vitae Research Publications Students Links Teaching


Lake Kivu (Rwanda and DRC)

Katsev, S., A.A.Aaberg, S.A.Crowe, and R.E. Hecky (2014) Recent warming of Lake Kivu. PLOS ONE 9, e109084 (PDF).

UMN OIP Seen Grant: Methanogenesis in Lake Kivu: Towards safe and sustainable use of the unique methane resource.
MacArthur Foundation


Lake Kivu, situated at the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is one of the most unique lakes in the World. The 460 m deep lake is meromictic (does not mix) and its deep waters are permanently separated from the atmosphere. What makes the lake especially unique, however, is its geologic setting in a rift valey in close proximity to two of the most active volcanoes on the continent: Nyirangongo and Nyamuragira. The complex volcanic and tectinic system supplies heat and dissolved gases through the lake bottom. As a result, the thermal stratification of the lake is most unusual, with temperature increasing with depth below ~70 m. The accumulation of dissolved carbon dioxide, as well as methane that is produced from it by microbes within the lake, causes a dangerous situation: Lake Kivu may potentially become a "killer lake", similar to the lake Nyos disaster that killed 2000 people in Cameroon in 1982.

Our research interests in Lake Kivu focus on characterizing the strength and dynamics of physical stratification, the biogeochemical cycling and production rates of methane, and paleolimnological records of past lake overturns.

T Kivu
T Matano
The temperature in the deep waters of Lake Kivu, as seen in CTD profiles taken over several years.
For comparison, the temperature in Lake Matano, another deep meromictic tropical lake, situated in a much quieter geological setting.


fishing boat on Lake Kivu

A local boat on Lake Kivu