CVL Hall of Fame

Minoru Kusakabe (CVL “founding father”)IMG_1842

Prof. Emeritus at Toyama University, Japan

M.K. was the one who kept calm in 1986-1987, when scientific discussion raged on why Lake Nyos had exactly exploded and killed >1700 people. M.K. organized the key workshop IWGCL (“CVL2”) that lined out the strategies for what CVL still means today. His vision to create the International Working Group on Crater Lakes was followed by a boost in scientific research on volcanic lakes, and gave birth to the Commission on Volcanic Lakes, when IAVCEI understood that this lake-business was serious. Between 1986 and 2016 M.K. visited Lake Nyos 40 (!) times. Besides countless projects and lake-deep science (remember his sulphur isotope work!), M.K. dedicated most of all to people. He is the Sensei (and not only) for many Cameroonian (and not only) researchers.  In name of our “founding father”, CVL awarded M.K. the “Kusakabe Award” in March 2016 in his second home country Cameroon (CVL9). From now on, CVL will bestow the Kusakabe Award every three years during our workshops. During the same occasion, Minoru Kusakabe received the title of Chevalier de la République du Cameroun, in name of the Cameroonian President, Paul Biya


Johan “Joop “C. Varekamp (former CVL Leader)IMG_5732

Wesleyan University, Connecticut, USA

J.C.V. made CVL “acidic” and more volcanological from the early nineties to early 2000’s, after the limnological trigger of Lake Nyos in 1986. His research and teaching is famous for being expansive, creative, innovating, eclectic, even explosive… as his CVL Leadership was for many years. After guiding several CVL workshops, and 10+ years pioneering work at Copahue volcano (Argentina-Chile) J.C.V. stepped back in 2008, pushing young people to take over (CVL7-2010, Costa Rica). Joop supervised many students that published milestone papers for our community (Greg Pasternack, Maarten de Moor). J.C.V. was the chief organizer of the CVL4-1996, 5-2000 and 6-2004 Workshops, and multiple editor of Special Volumes on crater lakes. His recent research on the Newberry lakes is yet another example of innovative, creative out-of-the-box science. J.C.V. won the “Kusakabe Award” in March 2019.


Bokuichiro Takano (Sulphur master) Takano Copahue Nov 2004

Prof. Em. University of Tokyo, Japan

B.T. is the father of sulphur speciation in acid crater lakes. Meanwhile Lake Nyos released its CO2 cloud, B.T. and M. Kusakabe contributed to the understanding of the remarkable sulphur chemistry in hyper-acidic crater lakes (Delmelle and Bernard 2015, Volcanic Lakes). B.T. recognized in the late 80’s that variations in aqueous polythionates in acid lakes reflect changes in magmatic-hydrothermal systems beneath the lakes. B.T applied his method to the most famous and active acid lakes Yugama, Ruapehu, Kawah Ijen and Poás. His work is unprecedented and remains unique to date, creating a buzz in the mind of lake geochemists to better unravel the S-story based on B.T.’s fundaments. Now retired, B.T. was an active CVL member from CVL2-1990 to CVL6-2004 (in the picture, while descending towards Copahue’s crater lake).


Michel HalbwachsMH.001 (Nyos degasser)

Limnological Engineering, Saint Jean D’Arvey, France

M.H. is the engineer in hydrology/limnology who developed the method to degas the bottom waters of the Cameroonian Lakes Nyos and Monoun. M.H., then working at Centre de Recherches Volcanologiques, had the courage to contradict the Chief of French volcanology Haroun Tazieff on the trigger behind the CO2 gas expulsion (cfr. volcanic acitivity beneath Lake Nyos caused the gas escape), and put forward his “Orgues de Nyos” technical concept back in April 1987 in a scientific and technical report of the Délégation aux Risques Majeurs. In the years after 1986 gas build-up continued, in favour of the limnic turnover as the most plausible degassing mechanism (cfr. as proposed by Sigurdsson et al. in 1985 as the mechanism of the Lake Monoun degassing in 1984, though published only in 1987), and hence conforting M.H.’s idea. After degassing tests in the early 90’s, in 2001 the degassing system was installed and its capacity increased in recent years, to make Lake Nyos and Monoun relatively “safe” to date. For this groundbreaking effort, during CVL9, although not physically present, M.H. received the title of Chevalier de la République du Cameroun, in name of the Cameroonian President, Paul Biya.


George W. Kling (limnology-reference)chevaliers.001

University of Michigan, USA

G.W.K. was there before, shortly after, until right now. Although being mainly an “arctic limnologist” (with an impressive publication record) G.W.K.’s research has his roots in Cameroon, where he spent time during his Ph.D. (1988, Duke University), studying the limnology of Cameroon’s 30+ volcanic lakes. G.W.K. teamed up with Bill C. Evans and M. Kusakabe for the yearly monitoring campaigns at Lake Nyos and Monoun, reaching the recent years. G.W.K. is without a doubt the most “geo-bio-limno-minded” and pure scientist in our community. During CVL9, G.W.K. (right in the picture, by IRGM) also received the title of Chevalier de la République du Cameroun, in name of the Cameroonian President, Paul Biya.


William “Bill” C. Evans (Nyos geochemist)Bill.001

USGS, Menlo Park, California, USA

W.C.E. is a full-package fluid geochemist. He was the first to sample Lake Nyos at depth, which he continued to do until recent years in the Kusakabe-Kling-Evans monitoring team. W.C.E. creatively developed several sampling methods and devices that are still used in its original or adapted versions. W.C.E. is renowned for his CO2 focussed work, mainly on US volcanoes, but remained faithful to his Nyos-commitment taken in the early years. During CVL9, although not physically present, W.C.E. also received the title of Chevalier de la République du Cameroun, in name of the Cameroonian President, Paul Biya.



Alain Bernard (Asian Foundations) alain.001

Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

After his initial studies on volcanic gas A.B. has dedicated much of his scientific career to a range of active lakes in various parts of the world, with emphasis on Indonesia, the Philippines and Central America. Throughout his career, A.B.’s research has always been at the forefront, being marked by innovative applications such as sophisticated sampling and lab methodologies, thermodynamic modeling of complex water-gas-rock interactions, instrumentation for continuous on-site monitoring (e.g. at Kelud) and satellite imagery. Highly valued should be his success in creating a new generation of excellent lake researchers/aficionados through his guidance of a string of students (Pierre Delmelle, Agnes Mazot, Corentin Caudron and many others) who are now lifting our discipline further. Already in the early days A.B. was committee member of the International Working Group on Crater Lakes, CVL’s predecessor. He co-organised CVL Workshops in 2000 (Bali) and 2004 (Caviahue) and was CVL webmaster for many years (text modified from M. van Bergen).


Takeshi Ohba (relentless monitoring) IMG_2022

Tokai University, Japan

T.O. began working on crater lakes at the Kusatsu Shirane volcano in Japan, where he resolved the water, heat, and chloride budgets for acidic Lake Yugama in the early 1990s. His 2008 article summarizing decades of data on Lake Yugama showed how useful the study of crater lakes could be in evaluating magmatic-hydrothermal conditions at depth within a volcano that poses a hazard to the visiting public.
T.O. turned the focus of his work to Lakes Nyos and Monoun (Cameroon) as the controlled degassing program brought about major changes in lake structure and chemistry after 2001. T.O. successfully spearheaded a grant proposal to SATREPS that funded monitoring work on these lakes and was critical to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the degassing effort. T.O.’s generosity in helping fund numerous other workers study these lakes resulted in a multitude of publications. T.O. was co-editor of the 2017 GSL and JAES 2019 Special Issues. During CVL9, T.O. also received the title of Chevalier de la République du Cameroun, in name of the Cameroonian President, Paul Biya. T.O. served CVL as its Secretary (2010-2013) and was the chief organizer of CVL8-Japan, 2013 (text modified from W.C. Evans).