Officials believe they’ve found the source of a pungent smell that swept across Southern California: A storm-blown waft of fish die-off from the Salton Sea. People in communities as far away as Palmadale and Lancaster, which are more than 150 miles north of the sea, reported smelling an intense rotting egg smell Monday. The combination of a fish die-off and strong storms Sunday likely frothed up the water and agitated bacteria to the surface causing the stench, says Janis Dawson of the Salton Sea Authority. More than 200 complaints were received about the smell. While the odor is a yearly occurrence, it rarely spreads so far. The body of water was formed in 1905 after a flood in the valley. It’s about one-third saltier than the ocean and inhospitable to most sea life, despite being a sanctuary for birds.
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