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In this episode of The Atlas Obscura Podcast, we visit Lake Nyos in Menchum, Cameroon. In 1986 an unknown natural disaster left more than 1,700 people dead in one night—and puzzled scientists. We learn how they solved the mystery.

Our podcast is an audio guide to the world’s wondrous, awe-inspiring, strange places. In under 15 minutes, we’ll take you to an incredible site, and along the way you’ll meet some fascinating people and hear their stories. Join us daily, Monday through Thursday, to explore a new wonder with cofounder Dylan Thuras and a neighborhood of Atlas Obscura reporters.

Jack Lockwood, USGS/Wikimedia (Creative Commons)