THE LEGEND OF THE 7 LAKES: EPISODE 2- The Excursions

July 18, 2009 at 12:37 | Posted in 7 lakes, Nigeria, petroleum, Uhere | 1 Comment
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This is the second of installment of my encounter with the lakes of Opi in Enugu state. For the first part of the series see here.

In 2006 some friends of mine from the residence (Uhere Study Centre) went on an excursion to discover the lakes and reached the Uhere River. The locals also confirmed the existence of one or two lakes in the region but they were not able to visit due to lack of time. At that time I discovered Google EarthTM and went scanning the area but without high resolution images of the area available from Google Earth at the time I had to be content with noticing ‘black areas’ which I could not use to prove to more skeptical fellow residents in the house at the time that there were lakes in the area.highs school lakes

I got my chance to see the lakes with my own eyes in 2007 on another excursion with a group of high schools students. We reached Uhere River, after walking nearly 3 hours from Opi junction and locals who were mining Ajali sands from the river bed told us again of the ‘nearby’ lakes and of the crocodiles and blood sucking leeches and also of some ‘white men’ who went there to take measurements a long time ago. I also got hints on that trip which should have removed my ‘geological’ objections: The dirt road down to the river was fairly steep eastwards. And around the river I observed mudstones and siltstones units which seemed to be directly under the cross-bedded friable sands.

River Uhere offered nice exposures of the cross-bedding characteristic of the Ajali formation therefore I had another excuse to go there again when I suggested the river as a good location for first year geologists to go on a field excursion to see the results of sedimentary processes in October of 2007. My classmate Ndubuisi Obi (who went with me on the last excursion and with whom I had long amateur discussions on the geology of the lakes) and I were guides for the students and a lecturer on an excursion to the river with the personal intention of seeing the lakes. At the time all my doubts of the existence of the lake had been dispersed when people of the residence encountered the lakes on an earlier excursion while I was 300km away in another field location working on my B.Sc. project. Sadly they returned without pictures of the lake as rain had spoiled the only camera they were with. This trip with the freshers was therefore a question of satisfying that urge (common to all geologists) to see for oneself what others have seen. That urge wasn’t satisfied on the trip as due to problems of communication with the locals we were misled and did not find the lakes ( though if it were not for the need to return to school on time we should have found them).

Sadly that was at the tail end of my undergraduate days in the university and I had to leave Nsukka for Ibadan (500km away) for compulsory National youth service but with the dream of one day finding seeing the lakes.

THE LEGEND OF THE 7 LAKES: EPISODE 1- The Legend

March 14, 2009 at 09:20 | Posted in 7 lakes, geology, Nigeria, UNN | 5 Comments
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It all began with my first visit to a University hall of residence and Study centre for students with a funny name: Uhere. ‘What kind of name is that?’ I asked. I was told that it is the local dialect’s word for wind. I was also told that the centre is named after a river somewhere around. That was in my first undergraduate year (2003). A year later, I became a resident at the center and we one day had a get-together with a lecturer from the department of tourism at the university. He told us, among many other things, about some tourist locations in Enugu state and mentioned Uhere River and The seven lakes of Opi. I was a bit skeptical about their existence, with ‘geological’ reasons for my doubt. The Nsukka area sits on the late cretaceous (Maastrichian) Ajali Sandstone formation (a.k.a false-bedded sandstone), consisting of characteristically friable cross-bedded sandstones. Ajali formation is also a good aquifer, supplying water to the areas around Nsukka all the way down to Enugu (city) area and even Okigwe. In Nsukka the groundwater level is deep (more than 100m on average) and if it is the same in Opi which is close to Nsukka (about 10 km to the southwest), how would the lakes be able to hold water on such a porous and permeable formation?

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