The Invisible Killer: Unveiling the Lethal Hazards of High Carbon Dioxide Zones

Jaxon Wildwood

Updated Monday, November 20, 2023 at 12:00 AM CDT

Imagine walking into an area that seems entirely normal, only to find yourself gasping for air, with each breath becoming more difficult than the last. This isn't the plot of a horror movie; it's the dangerous reality of high carbon dioxide concentration areas, often found at the bottom of caves or volcanic springs. The threat is real, and understanding it could be the difference between life and death.

The phenomenon of settled gases that can extinguish fire is not just a curious scientific fact; it's a stark warning sign of the presence of potentially lethal environments. These gases, including carbon dioxide, are heavier than air and tend to accumulate in lower lying areas. What might look like a harmless shimmery heat cloud could be a deadly pool of sulphur dioxide. If disturbed, it could envelop an unsuspecting visitor, leading to asphyxiation or poisoning from the toxic fumes.

Ancient civilizations were aware of these dangers, as evidenced by temples dedicated to deities of death, where animals would mysteriously drop dead, while priests seemingly walked through unharmed. These priests likely knew the secrets of the deadly gases and how to avoid them, which might have appeared as magic or divine power to onlookers.

Even today, the threat persists. Signs warning against throwing trash into these areas often go unnoticed, leaving many unaware of the dangers lurking beneath. The phenomenon of limnic eruptions brings this threat to a larger scale, where lakes saturated with carbon dioxide can suddenly release the gas, creating a suffocating cloud capable of extinguishing all life in its path.

A graphic demonstration of this can be seen in a video that has circulated online, where a simple experiment shows the devastating effect of a carbon dioxide cloud on a flame, snuffing it out instantly. This serves as a stark reminder of why it's crucial to carry a light source in areas where gas accumulation is possible. A candle or torch can act as an early warning system—if the flame goes out, it's time to leave immediately.

But what causes these high concentrations of carbon dioxide? In geological areas like caves and volcanic springs, natural processes can lead to the trapping and release of gases from the Earth's crust. It's a natural occurrence with unnatural consequences for the unwary.

For adventurers and explorers, these insights are not just intriguing trivia; they are vital safety tips. They inspire cautionary tales and even ignite the imagination, as some have found inspiration for new settings in role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons.

In conclusion, the dangers of high carbon dioxide concentrations are not to be underestimated. Whether it's the silent threat in ancient temples or the sudden devastation of a limnic eruption, awareness and caution are essential. Always be prepared, carry a light source, and respect the power of nature's invisible killers. Remember, it's not just about avoiding a scare—it's about staying alive.

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View source: Imgur

Top Comments from Imgur


Not that you're going to stumble across something like this, but if - for any reason - you DO; leave as fast as you can run. Settled gases that extinguish fire are universally bad for you. At best, you asphyxiate, but many are extremely toxic, especially around caves or volcanic springs. What looks like a shimmery heat cloud can be a pool of sulphur dioxide which gets disturbed by the wake of your movement and suffocates you.


There's ancient temples dedicated to the God of death where the priests would bring in sheep or goats and they'd drop dead in there. The priest would leave unharmed... Magic or the power of the gods or whatever!


That's a pretty graphic demo


Rightmost sign is Spanish for "Do not throw garbage/trash inside", I think?


Now look up "limnic eruptions": natural events where large quantities of carbon dioxide trapped in deep layers of lake water are suddenly released. The enormous cloud of carbon dioxide generated then rolls across the land, snuffing out all animal life. It's pretty creepy!


Read in another post someone said that's why you bring a lot candle with you when you go in the basement and if the candle goes out you GTFO.


And people laugh because I carry a little torch wherever I go! This is exactly why.


Gotcha. That's bad... But why? What is generating the CO2? I see it trapped.


Hello, new DnD Lich cave idea

TestUsernameChange reminded me of this video. Skip to around 30 seconds in to see the demonstration

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