Big stink in Eagle Rock*

Photo from Flickr

Matt Hartman of Eagle Rock has noticed a foul odor this morning outside his home. Apparently he is not alone. L.A. Now reports that hundreds of people have called the Los Angeles Fire Department to complain about a rotten egg or sulfur like odor this morning.  “It smells like the stink cloud that’s moving thru L.A. has reached Eagle Rock,” said Hartman via email.

Where is it coming from? No one seems for sure but the stink has been detected from Simi Valley to Palm Springs.  Hold your nose, Highland Park. You might be next.

* Update: Officials are now blaming the stench on a fish die-off in the Salton Sea.


  1. I live in Altadena and I smelled something like “still water smell” -I don’t know how to describe it, it wasn’t much as rotten egg; I first thought a sewer pipe had broken…
    I don’t know what it is, but I am “glad” to know that is just not me smelling this…

  2. It’s been smelled across the entire valley, apparently. LAFD on Twitter (@lafdtalk) has been posting updates. They’ve been in contact with the AQMD to figure it out.

    Here’s a recap they posted: http://lafdalert.blogspot.com/2012/09/foul-odor-9102012_10.html

    • And now I see that this point was not only alluded to in the original story, but linked to in the first comment. I blame the fact that it’s Monday.

  3. Last night many of my relatives from Palm Desert were saying that the winds were kicking up the smell from the Salton Sea. Perhaps that’s the issue? Is it possible it’s carrying from that far?

  4. Its from last night’s dust storm from the salton sea –

  5. There is talk of it coming from the Salton Sea. I certainly am no expert, however, if it is coming from there, then why has no one there, or nearby such as Indio, noticed the smell? There have been no reports of it east of Palm Springs.

    Also, I’ve been to the Salton Sea. Yes, it certainly is polluted and smells like it is, but I’ve never noticed any odor that is overbearing or like rotten eggs. Much less would I expect that odor to remain just as strong 150 miles away, rather than be greatly dissipated.

    I am not satisfied with just presumptuously blaming it on the Salton Sea.

    And even if it were coming from there, I would not presume it is from the water (see my comments about odor) rather than some geothermal issue. And I would be very worried if it is some geothermal issue out there, considering the Salton Sea area is a major concern regarding the “big one,” with its extensive network of faults, including the San Andreas. It seems to me that I have read something over the years about scientists learning that odors sometimes are forewarnings of quakes. In fact, consider this article:


    That article notes that gases often are released in the days prior to a major quake. While radon seems to bee a common one, the article does not limit it to radon, and in fact, it is only logical that whatever gases are there are what would be released.

    Oh, I would not panic until there is more info rather than wild speculating as I am left to do here. But I do think the powers that be should be doing all they can to find out what this is rather than presume it nothing but a temporary odor.

    I notice, no one seems to have asked the seismic people about this, such as CalTech.

    • First, the smell has been noticed all through the inland empire. Secondly, the Salton Sea is not polluted in the commonly used sense of some form of pollutant coming from an external source. There is a deep layer of organic material at the bottom. This deep layer of organic material forms an anaerobic layer and anaerobic bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide, the chemical responsible for the rotten egg smell. Because the Salton Sea is very shallow and in a very hot environment, it heats up very quickly. When water heats up, the natural microfauna populations explode and consume the majority of the oxygen in the water. Without oxygen larger fauna like fish die. This cycle happens every year and contributes to the continued deepening of the organic hydrogen sulfide producing bottom sediment.

  6. Wait. It means “The Big One” is about to hit. Everyone, please have an Earthquake Readiness Kit on hand. Scientifically speaking, it’s the only possibility. What you are smelling is sulfur from below the surface that has been agitated by seismic shifts along the fault lines. It means a large earthquake is imminent.

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