Officials: “Large release” of methane off Los Angeles coast — Unusual concentrations detected by haz-mat crews — Gas may be from shift in tectonic plates (VIDEO)

Published: March 4th, 2013 at 12:00 pm ET


CBS Los Angeles, March 3, 2013 (Emphasis Added): Authorities say a foul odor that spurred calls to fire departments throughout the city on Sunday is possibly the result of the large release of methane in the Santa Monica Bay. Santa Monica Fire said in a department statement that they believe the strong odor was caused by a naturally occurring methane leak below the ocean floor. “This morning there was a large release of natural ocean floor methane released in the Santa Monica Bay,” the statement said. […] Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Fire Department, said the odor was noted inland from the Santa Monica Bay.

KPCC (h/t Anonymous tip), March 3, 2013: Santa Monica fire haz-mat crews detected unusual concentrations of odorless methane gas in the air that they believed to be coming from either a patch of pungent algae or a sulfurous gas-laced methane bubble, said a dispatcher. That may night be the case, however. Sam Atwood, a spokesman for the Air Quality Management District (AQMD), said his agency has not confirmed the Santa Monica Fire Department’s theory.

KTLA, March 4, 2013: Officials say a foul stench in Santa Monica over was probably caused by a large release of methane in the ocean. […] A Santa Monica fire hazmat team took readings off the coast near San Vicente Blvd., and found methane in the water. […] Authorities said that recent changes in water temperature may have caused plankton and algae beds to bloom, releasing methane just below the surface. The gas also might have been produced by a geologic event, such as a shift in tectonic plates.

KABC, March 3, 2013: Santa Monica hazmat crews found unusual concentrations of odorless methane gas in the air. Officials believe either a pocket of stinky algae, or a bubble of methane laced with sulfurous gas, surfaced in the ocean.

Watch the KTLA broadcast here

Published: March 4th, 2013 at 12:00 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. Video: Huge methane bubble site found near giant Louisiana sinkhole — Within 100 ft. of Bayou Corne home May 8, 2013
  2. Flooding exposes methane coming out of ground near giant sinkhole: “I counted approximately 15 bubbling spots that’s normally dry land in a one block area” (VIDEO) January 18, 2013
  3. Watch: Methane bubbling up in residents yard near giant sinkhole — “I can actually hear the bubbling” (VIDEO) January 18, 2013
  4. Experts: Formaldehyde is spewing from massive LA gas leak — “Very dangerous for public”… methane turning into embalming fluid — Can make your body “start digesting itself” — Company knows this is happening and should warn us… Obviously they don’t want you to know about it (VIDEO) February 8, 2016
  5. Nuclear Expert: Hydrogen explosion suspected as cause of WIPP plutonium release — Meeting: Are more lids going to blow? Seeing how top of drum blew off has me concerned it isn’t ‘low level’ — Former DOE Expert: US will inevitably shift to storing radioactive waste on surface after this (VIDEO) June 17, 2014

53 comments to Officials: “Large release” of methane off Los Angeles coast — Unusual concentrations detected by haz-mat crews — Gas may be from shift in tectonic plates (VIDEO)

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Maybe..the 4.2 yesterday..further..up the a something going?

    M4.2 – 53km WSW of Ferndale, California 2013-03-03 17:46:48 UTC

    • stinkyperfume stinkyperfume

      Sorry, I just found this,IT WAS NOT THE OCEAN LEAKING STINKING METHANE…. I was there, stinking gas is not natural methane, it's treated methane… but it did stink and I found out what it was.

      Weeks of leaking flooded Venice Beach intermittently up the coast to SantaMonica Beach and down the coast to Marina del Rey, some days it was really bad other days it was going away. I was truly scared. Most ignore.

      The hotel on the beach across the street from my apt called the fire department too. Thousands were sickened by the toxic chemical they put in that that is anything but harmless, it's designed to stop the city from burning down when methane leaks but not designed to be non toxic. They lie.

      What it was…! One night I couldn't take it anymore and called the fire department AGAIN. I told them it was close and 4 of them were not able to figure it out and wanted to leave but I began to scream at them for having useless noses….Finally one fireman said…"I smell it too" They just needed to be ordered to catch on and it works for some guys. The three other's listened to him. They figured it out.

      There is a hotel on Venice Beach that is called Erwin after the rich jewish guy that owns it and he built a 5th floor getting over on code violations. They have a lot of tiki torches and the young waiter's were not turning them off at night just blow out the fire, so it was flooding the neighborhood off and on and nobody knew where it was coming from…

  • moonshellblue moonshellblue

    As stated previously methane is literally popping up everywhere thus climate change has started and I think we are past the tipping point, any solution would have to be a global effort which will never happen. What concerns me is the plans to fight mother nature with Project Lucy rather Geo-enginnering and their attempts to control the climate could accelerate this event or make things worse. It's not nice to fool Mother Nature. A great site is Jim's Climate Viewer web page to see all the radar dishes, etc. an awesome site. JMHO

    • pcjensen

      "As stated previously methane is literally popping up everywhere thus climate change has started and I think we are past the tipping point, any solution would have to be a global effort which will never happen."

      indeed. hunker down, take refuge, do whatcha gotta do for the new future.

    • amberlight amberlight

      Climate change started with the formation of the earth a l-o-o-ong time ago. Whether the current trend swings towards warming or ice age remains to be seen, but the forces that drive climate cannot be controlled by humanity any more than it is being caused by humanity. Any further meddling will only foul things up even more, and anyway does anyone really trust the military/industrial machine to have the best interests of earth life in mind?

      I could go on a rant about the ruling elite and their proposed global measures to "fix" a problem that—if any human activity can be said to be a contributing factor—is exacerbated by their endless wars and weaponization of the weather.

      • moonshellblue moonshellblue

        Amberlight, yes we have the military industrial complex to thank for our nuke mess,etc I also agree with pcjensen that our sun and solar system does play a major role in climate change and man has hindered mother natures ability to…simply stated, fix the problem and what will be will be. No worries and take care.

      • We Not They Finally

        Not much gets fixed if it's pre-decided that fossil fuels and carbon emissions got us here. We're against pollution for sure, but that is so tip-of-the-icenberg, it's like a diversion. Warmer air ALWAYS contains more carbon dioxide (that one I looked up)– and chopping down millions of acres of trees reduces oxygen in the air — mankind has done a lot of bad things — but nuclear is worse than any of that. Apparently, the Fukushima disaster greatly increased the ozone hole at the Arctic greatly in just a matter of DAYS.

      • Ron

        Just saw this comment by amber light above:

        "the forces that drive climate cannot be controlled by humanity any more than it is being caused by humanity".

        No, sorry, this is wrong. It's akin to saying that space heaters don't work. That there is no way that that $25 heater you for from the hardware store to heat up your bedroom at night can work because we humans simply don't have the ability to change the climate in our houses.

        But of course we can, and are changing the climate. To every action there is a reaction. You throw up enough heat trapping gasses into the atmosphere and just like that heater it's going to do what it does. Remember, the earth is a closed system, like a somewhat ventilated aquarium, and though heat can and does escape into space put in enough insulation (which is all greenhouse gasses really are) and after awhile more heat is bounced back toward the surface then escapes to space. It's basic physics.

    • pepperland pepperland

      thank you for the great site!

  • jec jec

    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.

  • Thad

    Do question all the reports of methane- orderless, colorless, lighter than air– so without detector at source how was it detected?

    Sulfur smell that altogether a differentr problem- various sulfurious emissions related to earthquakes and major tectonic faults can be released. The worst being hydrogen sulfide- also organic decay in presence of sulfur compounds can and does form H2S. Such is the case in the Salton Sea– this has been a problem in the past.
    Fault movement and tremors disturbing the bottom deposits in the Salton Sea can and would release H2S.

    • Its Curtains

      Good point about it being odorless, one of the articles did say that the Santa Monica hazmat team tested the water and found methane, but how much was detected it doesn't say.

      • vivvi

        Just because the methane itself is odorless, doesn't mean other gases mixed with it are also odorless. I would expect that in nature, other gases mixed together would be the norm, such as a small proportion of hydrogen sulphide, or any number of volatile oils that have odors.

        • Thad

          Then let them report the gases they do smell.. If hydrogen sulfide or so other toxic gas the public needs to know—
          Check the MSDS for methane it is not toxic

          • vivvi

            I dont claim to know what the people could smell. Simply saying that some odor alerted people to the presence of some unusual gas. In the course of that the methane was found. What's ya point, thad? Methane can explode, and its presence is an alert that something has released it, which may be a warning. You asked the question, how was it detected? I suggested an answer. That seems to annoy you.

            • Thad

              Real simple– methane is not toxic- yes explosive but being lighter than air that is only a problem if trapped in a closed space.
              Where as Hydrogen sulfide and some other gases are deadly toxic and those gases can be smelled- if that was what was smelled it needs to be reported and just as important if no toxic gases detected that needs to be reported–


    taste of things to come…

    Toxic oceans may have delayed spread of complex life

  • Jay

    Why fight the global warming ? It is caused by tectonic events with plenty of underwater gaizers and volcanoes acting as 24/7 oceanS heaters .

    If it wouldn't be for that , today the Norther Hemisphere would be under one or two Kilometers of ice !!
    You can not PLOW and cultivate in ice , duh !
    But we can desilinize water and green both Pole circles .

    If there are any people to be displaced , let's take opportunity and built better cities ( that prohibit internal combustion engines , for example , and better public transportation designes ) .

    If you think the elite has an insider info on rising waters just watch the California coast and New York real estate market .

    Cheers to Global Warming !

  • weeman

    Be safe start shutting down all nuclear eactors in west coast, this could be a pre curser to a big one.
    So what if you are wrong, if your are right you will have the gratitude of a nation.
    Don't hesitate give the order.

    • Its Curtains

      Shutting down NPP would be great but the problem is that they are still there and any major event would most likely cause a possible Fukushima type situation. It seems we are up sh*ts creek without a paddle regardless.

  • razzz razzz

    The Los Angeles Basin and further out surrounding areas including undersea are oil rich, always has been. Oil sands extraction would just add to reserves. Refineries in the LA Basin are disguised as churches with tall steeples. You wouldn't know except for the smell or the venting which they are even getting that under control now. The occasional slow motion oil well pumps fenced with chain link seen when driving around Long Beach. Oil fields still in production. Tar balls from offshore seeps always washing up on the beaches. Oil production and refinery, oil byproducts, oil shipping and storage, is nothing new to the LA Basin.

  • Thad

    Signal Hill coast oil field near LA only US mainland fired on by the Japs WWII- sub shelled one night.
    '70-'80s drld in parking lot on electric power disguised- all deliverys at night. Drld off piers, and later manmade islands.
    Area has long history of oil field– then after the Santa Barbara blow out Cal citizens though it best to shut down drlg and let other chance the hazards of the oilfield and production.

    Tar balls- go to one of the ultimate oil seeps, La Brea Tar Pits– not tar – asphalt– its there too.

  • They can't even speak the truth about this… they had a mud volcano out there that could be seen from orbit for crying out loud! It wasn't out in the ocean, and it got vid-captured! Just what advantage there is to saying it's just methane…?

    Baffle the public with bullshite… SOP.

    • Thad

      Pattie B would like reference to the mud volcano, location? was it similar to the one in Indonesia. very interesting.

      • PavewayIII PavewayIII

        There's a bunch of them South of the Salton Sea. Some people want to see the seven wonders of the world. I just want to see a mud volcano – and maybe the tar pits.

    • Sol Man

      Yes, a tragic disaster that, as I recall, was the result of drilling too deeply where they did not have the authority; similar BP Macondo well.

  • ftlt

    The Oregon/Washington coast has had bloom problems for years now with releases of Sulfur gases Rotten eggs for miles and miles of coastline…

  • gnomesang gnomesang

    i am ten miles south of san onofre, last thursday was one of the first really clear days in a looong time. fri there was light spraying (seeding) in the sky, sunday heavy, sunday night about 12 i could not get a breath, metallic taste and dry…eyes burn. all day today (mon) heavy heavy spraying north san diego co. then late afternoon the low flying dhs helicopters fly out to take readings but not tell us the results. trees and plants are slowly dying, very very sad, it was so beautiful here, and still is other than the death around the edges of plants and the radioactive "pin mark" scars on the leaves.
    i completely think they are geo engineering, and their failing miserably…i am just heartbroken for our beautiful planet that once worked so awesomely. i am heartbroken for what is happening to the children, and to think all of it was for a means to commit death and destruction…i guess they finally got it right.

  • markww markww

    2 thoughts one the smells could be from a volcano

    the other is not methane but sulfur smells equals volcanic problems.

    The pacific is very cold near shore and methane bubble could have come up. One fireman I know has just retired a Captain said Los Angeles is sitting on 23 mile wide volcano that is extinct or is it.?


    • harengus_acidophilus

      Mr. "Daily Horror" is presenting his nightmares.

      Some demonic lifeforms need the fear of humans,
      they suffer if they feel luck or hartmony or love …



        you're projecting harengus_acidophilus. There are no demons or angels, only ignorance and enlightenment…

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Here are the methane zones in Los Angeles City..(onland)

    Methane Zone Map for Los Angeles City

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Oh..Baja..of course.
    I wonder about activity …the Tres Virgines Volcano.

    The closet volcano to Los Mammouth Mountain..and the Long Valley Caldera.

    "Both Long Valley Caldera and Mammoth Mountain have experienced episodes of heightened unrest over the last few decades (earthquakes, ground uplift, and/or volcanic gas emissions)."

  • Thad


    The amounts, however, were too small to be hazardous to health, he said. No illnesses were reported.
    Recent shifts in water temperature might have caused plankton and algae beds to bloom, releasing methane just under the surface, Walker said. The gas also might have been produced by a geologic event, such as a shift in tectonic plates, he said.
    “We usually have this happen about twice a season,” Walker said. “There’s no special way of telling where or when it will happen. When we were getting south, southeast winds blowing into the city, we’d get the calls, when they shifted westerly, the calls would stop.”
    As of midday, readings indicated the methane had dissipated, he said.