Hold Your Nose and Enjoy

Photographs From the Salton Sea, California’s Most Odiferous Unnatural Wonder

Hold Your Nose and Enjoy

by Kim Stringfellow

A few weeks ago, distinctive and noxious undercurrents churned upward into the nether reaches of the atmosphere and blanketed the Southland in a stench. Some people mistook it for landfill emanations; others worried of gas leaks. But eventually all fingers pointed southeastward toward the Salton Sea, that vast accidental lake created by a flooding of the Colorado River in 1905. The noxious odor that made headlines in Los Angeles is a familiar, even characteristic, fume to residents of the Coachella Valley. The areas most affected by it are …

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