Rotten smell wreaks havoc across Southern California

September 11, 2012 CALIFORNIA  – When the rotten egg smell wafted into the Santa Clarita United Methodist Church in Saugus on Monday morning, Kathy Gray thought the church’s sewer pipe had burst. More than 70 miles to the east, steelworker Chris Tatum’s nostrils got the punch in Riverside. He assumed a brush fire had just broken out. “It smells like rotten mush.” Southern California awoke Monday morning to a foul odor that wouldn’t go away. Residents clogged 911 lines with calls, prompting health officials from Ventura County to Palm Springs to send investigators looking for everything from a toxic spill to a sewer plant leak. The prime suspect, however, lay more than 100 miles away from Los Angeles. The leading theory is that the stink was caused by the annual die-off of fish in the Salton Sea. Officials believe Sunday evening’s thunderstorms and strong winds churned up the water and pushed that dead-fish smell to points west overnight. Officials from the Air Quality Management District and other agencies said they have never dealt with a stench quite like this. Although the fish die-off usually causes foul odors in parts of the Inland Empire, officials cannot recall it traveling this far. “It’s very unusual that any odor would be this widespread, from the Coachella to Los Angeles County,” said Sam Atwood, spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality Management District. “We’re talking well over 100 miles. I can’t recall ever confirming an odor traveling that distance.” The Salton Sea did track 40-mph winds Sunday night, and officials said that probably served as a trigger. “The winds could have stirred up the water,” said Bill Meister, president of the Sea and Desert Interpretive Assn. “Because the lake is so shallow, and there is 100 years worth of decayed material at the bottom, you’d get that rotten egg smell.” At its deepest points, the Salton Sea is only about 50 feet, said Andrew Schlange, general manager of the Salton Sea Authority. The 360-square-mile body of murky, highly saline water is also receding into the desert. More water is evaporating from the sea than is flowing in from agricultural runoff. In some places the falling waterline has uncovered thermal fields studded with features like geysers and boiling mud pots spewing clouds of steam and sulfur dioxide gas that smells like rotten eggs. The “accidental sea” was created in 1905 when the Colorado River jumped its banks during a rainy season and gushed north for months, filling an ancient salt sink. It’s 35 miles long, 15 miles wide and 227 feet below sea level. Schlange said it’s a common occurrence for fish populations to explode and then suffer die-offs when oxygen is depleted from the sea. “The problem is [the odor] would have to have migrated 50 to 100 miles, without it being dissipated by mixing with other air. It doesn’t seem possible,” he said. “I’ve been in Southern California my whole life, and I’m not aware of any time in the past where the odor from the Salton Sea has migrated as far as people are telling us.”  –LA Times
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54 Responses to Rotten smell wreaks havoc across Southern California

  1. CeeJay says:

    And from a report about collected accounts just prior to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake:
    Also, according to Edgar Larkin (1906), who collected a great many accounts, the odour of hydrogen sulphide was noted in the area of Sausalito. He also reported that sulfurous odors were pungent in Napa County during the night of the 17th and 18th before the upheaval, and lasted all day. . . . From many of the letters it is clear that the entire region north and east of San Francisco is saturated with gases of sulfur origin. . . .
    In Santa Rosa, according to Lawson and others (1908), a strong smell of sulphur had been noticed two days before the earthquake by one Charles Kobes. Since during an earthquake eight years previously, “sulfur fumes came up from under his house which almost drove his family from home”, the recurrence of this phenomenon on 16 April 1906 caused Kobes to tell his family that there would be another earthquake.


    • Deck says:

      Well if they have a big earthquake you will have proof you posted this info prior to it happening


    • Louise says:

      I remember the last time is was in New Zealand, the sulphur smell in Rotorua – where there is volcanic activity, geysers, bubbling mud etc., (it is a tourist attraction), is rather powerful.
      I also get a feeling that the smell in Southern California is due to volcanic gases, not rotten fish.
      Let’s not forget too (not that we have of course) that Southern California recently experienced a considerably sized eathquake in this area, so I get a gut feeling that the “leading theory” (dead fish) is unfortunately incorrect….
      Best wishes to all 😉


    • Angelsong says:

      Most interesting..May I suggest a video that ties in with this post on YouTube. 9/10/2012 Strange sulfur smells coming from Southern California by Dutchsinse. May God bless us all…


  2. Lisa says:

    I’m not buying the dead fish story. People at high altitudes are also smelling it and most people say it is a sulfer smell. There is a difference between dead fish and sulfer smells. They sure seem to be blaming fish for a lot of things, like the strange sounds/booms are from fish (so they say). I laughed my butt off over that one. Whatever kool-aid they are drinking I don’t want any part of. lol.


    • K.J. says:

      I have to agree…………… I have smelled large quantities of rotting fish before and I am very familiar with the smell of swamp gas and the smell of exposed mud in swamps. They do not smell anything like sulphur. Very different.

      I just don’t buy the official explanation either.


      • Jaded Pickles says:

        I am into collecting fossils and minerals. When I break up ledge or boulders with a sledge hammer I get a very strong sulfer smell when the rocks split open from the hammer impact.
        I wonder if this is happening on a larger scale with volcanic activity?
        I also find most swamps have an ammonia smell, not a sulfer smell. But marshes near the ocean tend to have that sewage leak smell like some one just took a healthy one!


    • burntdown says:

      They are linked. The gas from the inner earth kills the fish, and the fish smell is combined with the gas. The dead fish you see everywhere is because of this, and you will see millions upon millions of dead fish, like you would never imagine. The sea will give up the dead. That is the prophecy to that. And if you smell sulfur from the inner earth, you are sure to smell dead fish along with it, because one always happens with the other. The sea and the springs of water are an indication of the body of life. The fish are an indication of the dead. It is symbolic yet also literal at the same time. The whole world has symbolic link with the sea, the land and the animals that dwell there. And if you think what I say is strange, it is only because you have never heard the words of a new reality. Not everything is understood, but it will be. Such that people comprehend the ‘truth’ that is comforting to them. But the truth is a flaming sword like a fire, you never know where it will flicker.


  3. Rhonda says:

    Sulfur is usually associated with volcanoes…no? Dead fish don’t smell like sulfur. Is there a volcano about to erupt?


  4. Linda Monk says:

    well I was reading about this yesterday,it is happening in several different locations,not just California.If they really knew,do you really expect the truth?Also,the excusse about the fish causing the sounds,really people, dont buy it, but of course most people will,that is why they can get by with these hilarious excuses.


  5. Waldemar says:

    If Anyone have been near an active volcano, Then You know how the smell Is. Tha’s the only think I can Say!!


  6. Morbid says:

    The Long Beach earthquake of 1933 shutdown the natural hydrothermal vent flow that supplied the hot springs for the hot baths at White Point in San Pedro, CA. To this day you can go past White point and occasionally smell sulfur coming from that area.

    This means there is hot magma down below and it could be that the swarm of recent earthquakes in Pleasant Hills may have opened cracks in the earth – now letting out a sulfur smell.


  7. carolyn says: Great find! The big one is imminent? We will see.


  8. prayntongues says:

    I grew up in the Inland Empire, since 1965, I have NEVER heard of this phenomenon. I’m thinking that the sulfurous odor is wafting up from the San Andreas fault…scary thought to consider especially reading CeeJay’s comment above. Are scientists withholding information to avoid panic if they warn of a possible killer quake?


  9. Irene C says:

    I have to concur that it could be sulfur. I’ve never smelled sulfur, but having grown up on a farm, I do know what rotten eggs smell like.

    @CeeJay, thank you for that info. I wasn’t aware that there was a sulfur smell before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.


  10. Tarren says:

    Also just today people are smelling the same smell in Arizona, Texas,and Michigan!


  11. niebo says:

    Creepy, even moreso in combination with CeeJay’s comments and the escalation of activity amongst the “sleeping giant” volcanoes…


  12. Mike says:

    I heard ‘an expert’ speaking on NPR today about this. He said that the smell is from gases produced by a rich organic matter in a low oxygen environment, creating the gas. Winds stirred the water and brought them to the surface.
    It all sounded like a stretch to me, I intended to look it up and found this post about it on my daily rounds. I suspect it was due to some seismic activity.


    • Elizabeth says:

      There were three shallow earthquake tremors right under the Salton Sea yesterday.
      2.6 magnitude, 3 km depth
      2.6 magnitude, 2 km depth
      3.3 magnitude, 3 km depth


    • Pistonstoned says:

      Rotten egg smell?
      H2S gas! (hydrogen sulfide)
      Goes hand and hand with major earthquakes and/or volcanic eruptions!


    • Barry Wright says:

      A sulfur smell? Wonder if it’s the bacteria used to clean up oil spills in oceans mixing with the hydrogen creating sulfur?


    • Tim says:

      When the wind ripples the water – sediment is barely moved. But an earthquake shakes the sediment; the gases are released and naturally come to the surface where the wind can blow it to anywhere. It takes a lot of gas release to remain concentrated enough to have a strong smell 50 – 100 miles away. Have you ever seen what a 6 foot vibrator does to fresh poured concrete? The concrete jiggles around and air bubbles rise and pop to the surface along with excess water – just like an earthquake does to soft sediment. Don’t believe everything the media tells you.


  13. yardley7 says:

    We live in the Murrieta area. On the way to school on Monday (Menifee) we smelled a faint sulfur smell. It was not overwhelming….more like brimstone….yes, I am gathering more emergency supplies asap.


    • burntdown says:

      They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months. They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; Relate what is relevant to nature. The nature of the beast. To many of you God was a man. But nothing is greater than the all living being of nature.

      And the four angels were waiting ready. All is interpretation. You will never know the word, until the word falls from the sky, as the word rises from below. We all see what we which to see, but what is real, happens. The earth is a living organism. Fire, water, air, and earth are all alive. And if you think that there is heresy in what is alive and real, fantasy will eat you alive.

      Why does fire and brimstone have to rain down? Because people do not look up.


  14. nickk0 says:

    Based upon the ‘historical reports’ posted above – We will probably know, within hours or days – if there is a link between between the sulfurous odors, and major earthquakes.

    If people are also reporting sulfurous odors in AZ.,TX., and MI., this is probably not good. 😦

    * * If anyone has any links to news articles complaining of sulfur smells in other states, we should post them up here, in this thread. * *


  15. deb says:

    praying for people in california….


  16. K.T. says:

    Quote from the article: “More water is evaporating from the sea than is flowing in from agricultural runoff. In some places the falling waterline has uncovered thermal fields studded with features like geysers and boiling mud pots spewing clouds of steam and sulfur dioxide gas that smells like rotten eggs.”

    So, there are active geothermal features under the Salton Sea? Is that area an ancient volcano or something? Sound like the Yellowstone features of geysers and boiling mud pots. If those active features are under the Salton Sea, why are they blaming it on dead fish??


  17. Brandon says:

    What do YOU think is causing this sulfur smell?


  18. monique dragoiu says:

    It has been said before the largest earthquake in San Fran there was a similar smell…Sulfer perhaps?


  19. monique dragoiu says:

    It has been said similar to the big quake in San Francisco there were reportings of similar a smell…:-( Sulfer perhaps?


  20. T. Jackson says:

    The Salton Sea is a mini caldera, an eruption would devastate the entire southwest. Millions of tons of scalding water, earth, magma, and quakes; a literal hell on earth for those who do not die from the initial eruption.


  21. ALBIRRR says:



  22. Channon says:

    We moved from southern California years ago. I also did some research on the sulfuric smell before a major quake and do believe this is what we are looking at. Also, many of the mountain areas among these flat areas are dormant volcanos. Mammoth mountain, Big bear lake, and all of the other ones that dot the landscape through the desert regions. I shared my hypothesis with many close family and friends back home. They buy into the fish story where as I do not!


  23. Emanni says:

    August 14, 2011

    May 16, 2012

    July 26, 2012

    August 7, 2012

    August 27, 2012

    September 10, 2012


    • Reference video: Gas leaking from sea-floor is probably the best analysis of what’s taking place…Methane is colorless and odorless, so the H2S (Hydrogen Sulfide) would be the cause of the actual smell. H2S is also a volcanic gas.

      thanks for the videos, Emanni



  24. Emanni says:

    September 11, 2012
    Mystery Sulfur Odor in Chesapeake, Virgina


  25. Peggy says:

    Alvin, Please what is your take on this?


    • Likely methane gas of some sort, Peggy


    • Discharging of sewage accompanies CA’s 60-yr water scam. Entire cities rebuilt on top of the new underground infrastructures. It smelled like rotten eggs when they reached our properties – and so did another round of illnesses, infections, amputations, respiratory and deaths. Officials simply have records and aerial views altered to match the new layouts, then deny all knowledge / responsibility.


  26. carolyn says:

    “Also just today people are smelling the same smell in Arizona, Texas,and Michigan!”

    Whew. This is sobering if indeed a major earthquake precourser.


  27. Caroline in West Virginia says:

    The earthquake swarm in and around the Salton Sea is ongoing. In the past 30 days alone there have been over a thousand recorded quakes in and around the Salton Sea, which is on the San Andreas fault. The last time the Salton Buttes erupted waa around 8,000 years ago. I postulate that fish die-off was as likely to be the result of H2S (hydrogen sulphide gas) being released under the lake. I wonder if anyone has been keeping an eye on the water temperature.. hmmm!

    Here is a very interesting report from June 20 2011

    Geologists: Volcanic Eruption Near County Possible – Possible Eruption Near Salton Sea In Imperial Valley Could Bring Ash Clouds To San Diego

    I spoke to a friend in San Diego today who said that she could smell H2S in downtown San Diego, around 150 miles away, just this morning..

    Which takes us was back to CeeJay’s first commet!

    Get ready, folks!


  28. brettcrawfordnz says:

    We also had sulphur smells before and after quakes in Christchurch. It is def something to watch and also ground water 24 hours prior falling or rising look out for swamp areas showing water colour changes.


  29. Zenflame says:

    The fault line is heating up, cooking the salton sea and everything in it. The fault line is embedded in sulphur like minerals. The whole line is heating up and burning off sulfurous gasses into the air. That’s why they can smell it in norther cal.

    Pole shift anyone? ))

    life on earth, never boring!


  30. Colleen says:

    Please dear Father in heaven, be with the folks in California. Bless Your whole nation!
    PS. I live in Kentucky and there is a strong sulfur odor coming from my basement floor. My husband asked me to pour bleach down the drain in the basement. I am certain my case of sulfur odor is an isolated event. We do not have any wells on our property, so the smell could not be coming from that source.


  31. Rhonda says:

    Wow! I smelled a faint foul odor like this not too long ago and thought maybe our septic tank was backing up. It was very faint and I didn’t pay much attention to it as the smell lingered only one night. I even asked my husband to check the crawl space for dead mice, which there weren’t any. We live in Northern Idaho. So I’m thinking something big is about to happen if there were strange sounds in Seattle and I smelled this all the way inland – Yet there have been no reports of any smells in our neck of the woods or in Seattle to my knowledge. Do you have any reports about such sounds in Seattle Alvin? (Is it possible the wind could have brought the gases this far north? We’ve been having some very gusty winds of late.)

    A side note: it has been said that high pressure and warm/hot temperatures is earthquake weather. It’s been unseasonably warm and dry here for the last few weeks and high pressure has been dominating the west coast for a very long time. Have you ever heard of this theory?


  32. yamkin says:

    Geologists: Volcanic Eruption Near Salton Sea Possible – San Diego County California


  33. Kiebos Roberts says:

    Michael Jordan, Industrial Hygienist, for County of Public Health has conducted twelve months of air & water quality monitoring and came up with a genius solution to eliminate the odors (sulfur, rotten-egg aroma, sulfur dioxide) at Elizabeth Lake. Mr. Jordan works for Angelo J. Bellomo, Director of Environmental Health and Climate Change adjunct professor at UCLA’s School of Public Health. For monitoring data, graphs, and odor solutions conducted by Mr. Jordan call Mr. Bellomo at: 626-430-5100.


    • missmarlaa says:

      Over the past 60 yrs, California’s underground water, sewer, gas infrastructures have been secretly replaced, relocated – cities rebuilt on top of this. Shut-of valves removed, corroded lies cross-connected. Behind the water scam. Using many unlicensed, unqualified fake work crews to participate on private properties, tying into the public lines altered by the City, so many code violations instead of permits / inspections, records, aerial view, street views altered to match the new layouts allowing officials to deny all knowledge / responsibility. Massive sewage being discharged as this continues – not to mention the trail of illness, infections, respiratory, amputations, deaths.


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