The spookiest natural disaster you never heard of

Lake Nyos

Oh, look at the pretty lake. Too bad it’s a DEATHTRAP.

On 21 August 1986, an invisible, odorless cloud of death came out of Lake Nyos, in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. The nearby village of Nyos was completely wiped out, with only six survivors out of a population of 800. People as far away as 25 kilometers were killed. Some died because they heard a noise, stepped outside to see what it was, and dropped at their doorsteps. Others died because they were napping, while their awake and upright family members in the same room were unaffected. The final death toll included 1,746 people and over 3,500 livestock. It was utter devastation.

Curious? Read about it in Atlas Obscura, and maybe next time think twice about that silly folk tale you dismissed…

(photo by Bernard Cannet of Magma Production)


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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3 Responses to The spookiest natural disaster you never heard of

  1. Alma says:

    Oooh, yes, I heard about that one while studying geology! Probably during the Volcanoes course. Fascinating stuff! Scary, fascinating stuff.

  2. Lisa Shaw says:

    Hmm. File under “Damn, Nature, you scary!”

  3. Inge says:

    Oh yes.. i have read about this in a book about forgotten disasters. This was one of the scary ones. It’s amazing what nature can create and destroy.

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