Awakening the Horrors of the Ancient Hothouse — Hydrogen Sulfide in the World’s Warming Oceans
“Dead Cthulu waits dreaming…” H.P. Lovecraft
In the 1930s, pulp horror writer H.P. Lovecraft penned tales of ancient monsters called Old Ones that, if awakened, would emerge to devour the world. One of these horrors, Cthulu, lay in death’s sleep in his house called R’lyeh at the bottom of the Baltic Sea (Charles Stross) awaiting some impetus to disturb him from necrotic slumber (ironically, the Baltic sea bed contains one of the world’s highest concentrations of the deadly hydrogen-sulfide producing bacteria that are a focus of this article).
(2007 Hydrogen Sulfide emission off the coast of Namibia. Such emissions tend to color the surface water green and, in extreme cases, black. Image source: Earth Observatory)
In the imaginary world of H.P. Lovecraft, terrible lore of these horrific Old Ones, among which, Cthulu was the worst, lay stored in ancient tomes. To learn of these mysteries was to risk madness…
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