Jan 09, 2007
Twelve people were taken to hospital with symptoms of shortness of breath and skin irritation after a foul smell spread over Manhattan and neighbouring northeastern New Jersey for several hours. The odor was experienced by people from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan to Midtown. It was also felt at Central Park, across the width of the island, and in New Jersey. New York's air sensors did not report any elevated level of natural gas. The unusual development led to a temporary suspension of part of the New York-New Jersey PATH commuter train system as a precaution. However, normal services were resumed soon. The city too returned to normal and the odor vanished on its own. Meanwhile, authorities are trying to identify the source of the odor. There were no signs of any abnormal flow of gas in Manhattan.
Image Above: World methane hydrate distribution in the ocean, Arctic region. NRL regions of interest are highlighted around the U.S., Canada, Norway, and Japan.
OTHER STRANGE SMELLS IN THE LAST FEW YEARS- 2/8/06 - Hundreds of people feared a huge gas blast after a strange stink swept Edinburgh, Scotland. Mystery still surrounds the source of the smell.11/7/05 - NEW YORK - In a city full of foul aromas, a mysterious sweet smell is receiving a lot of attention after residents throughout Manhattan began reporting it Thursday night (11/2). Calls have been pouring in to the city's 311 hotline and to 911 from Manhattan residents wondering just what the smell is. Many describe it as smelling like maple syrup. Other say it smells like flavored coffee or roasted nuts. 10/7/05 - D.C. officials still don't know what's causing the strange odors reported last week and again Wednesday night in parts of the city. Dozens of calls continue to come in at Washington Gas for reports of strange odors - mostly in Northeast Washington. 10/2/05 - Southland, CALIFORNIA residents from the coast to the Valley reported a rotting garbage-like odor on 9/20. "It was that sort of weird, clinging cloud-of-garbage-like smell that has come to characterize New York in August." Workplaces and weblogs were buzzing, with descriptions comparing the smell to old socks, rotting cabbage soup, kimchi, moldy wet wallboard and the "dampness of the air interacting with my cat's litter box." "It was like a stew of sulfur, sewage and bad omen." - In WASHINGTON D.C., unexplained odors were reported all across the district. Between midnight and 1 p.m. WEDNESDAY, firefighters received 36 calls and responded to 11 schools, as well as the fifth and sixth district police stations. What the odor is and where it's coming from remains a mystery. Most of the complaints came from Northeast Washington, where the ODOR SEEMED TO COME AND GO FOR NO DISCERNIBLE REASON. There was no consensus on what it smelled like, only that it was nasty. "It smelled like skunk, rotten eggs and sulfur." - State and federal environmental officials are trying to determine the cause of a big stink reported along Lake Erie. Hundreds of residents called authorities or the National Weather Service THURSDAY to report the smell, which has been variously described as like gasoline, natural gas or even decaying garbage and rotten eggs. The smell was strongest yesterday morning when a cold front swept through the area, churning up larger than normal waves from Erie to Dunkirk, NEW YORK. Scientists believe the churning waters may have released some naturally occurring gases that are normally trapped beneath the lake's deeper waters. - A strange smell was turning up noses and had people in the Southern Tier, Jamestown, NEW YORK, asking questions THURSDAY afternoon.- A mysterious smell has been lingering around numerous neighborhoods in one local community in OHIO, and now residents want to know where that odor is coming from and if it's dangerous. Neighbors living along Hospital Road in Bellaire describe the smell as putrid. They say THE SMELL HAS BEEN FLOATING INTO THE AREA FOR THE PAST TWO MONTHS. During the day the air smells fine, but at night neighbors say the odor is nauseating. Neighbors say the strong odor will start on various evenings around 9:00 p.m., and linger there sometimes until morning. - In SINGAPORE at Marine Terrace, residents were concerned about a strong smell like gas. The smell lasted until after 9pm. The police said they received 52 calls from Marine Terrace, Chai Chee, Siglap, Bedok Reservoir and the East Coast area. No gas leak was detected.
Skywatch NOTE - A sudden, fatal dose of global warming 180 million years ago during the time of the dinosaurs was caused by methane release. Vast amounts of methane gas were released to the atmosphere in three massive ‘methane burps’ or pulses. The addition of methane, a greenhouse gas, to the atmosphere had a severe impact on the environment, warming Earth about 10°C, and resulting in the extinction of a large number of species on land and in the oceans. The methane came from gas hydrate, a frozen mixture of water and methane found in huge quantities on the seabed. This hydrate suddenly melted, allowing the methane to escape.