Southern California stench blamed on glowing algae

May 13 (UPI) -- A mysterious stench causing complaints across Southern California might be the result of bioluminescent algae dying off in the ocean, experts said.

Residents across Southern California, including Los Angeles, complained of a mysterious odor Tuesday, and utility provider SoCalGas said workers determined the smell was not the cause of a natural gas leak in the area.


The South Coast Air Quality Management District said investigators determined the odor is likely coming from the ocean.

"Based on what we're seeing, we do believe it's organic in nature coming from the red tides," Terry Mann, deputy executive officer of enforcement with South Coast AQMD, told KABC-TV.

Valerie Burkholder with the Aquarium of the Pacific said the smell is believed to be a result of the bioluminescent algae that has been making waves off the California coast glow for the past couple weeks. She said the algae is starting to die off, causing a foul smell.

"The thing that's responsible for it is the Dinoflagellate," Burkholder said. "Mother Nature can do some gross things sometimes and this is just one of those many examples."


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