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Lake Nyos in normal conditions (left) and just after the 1986 gas release (right). The sudden welling up of carbon dioxide from the bottom of the lake brought iron to the surface, which oxidised, creating the brown rust colour.
The mass was about 50 metres (164 ft) thick and it travelled downward at a rate of 20-50 km per hour. For roughly 23 metres (75 ft) the cloud remained condensed and dangerous, suffocating many of the people sleeping in the villages
About 4,000 inhabitants fled the area, and many of these developed respiratory problems, lesions, and paralysis as a result of the gases