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Mystery odor haunts Kanagawa Prefecture, worries seismologist

38 Comments
By SoraNews24

At about 8:40 in the morning of Aug 21t, the Yokosuka Fire Department in Kanagawa Prefecture received 40 calls to their 119 emergency number all reporting a “smell of gas” in the area over the course of an hour.

Aside from the unpleasant smell, no one reported feeling ill from it either to the fire department or local hospitals.

This spate of reports is currently being looked into, but most are expecting the cause to be unknown. This is because the exact same situation has happened there twice before in as many months. In the early hours of July 17, emergency calls flooded in from Yokosuka and neighboring Miura City, and in the evening of June 4, about 260 calls were made to fire and police hotlines, all saying “it smells like gas.”

Since the hazards of a potential gas leak are nothing to take lightly, a thorough investigation was conducted following each round of reports, but no gas lines were found to be damaged, and the cause was officially unknown.

Readers of the news were also at a loss to pinpoint the cause of what’s happening in the area.

“It’s happening every month, and they still can’t figure it out?”

“What is it? Methane?”

“That unsettling. Maybe there’s a natural gas field around there.”

“I remember experiencing a strange smell like that when walking to school. One day I discovered it was a pile of rotting onions. I wonder if the bad weather had made some farmers abandon their crops.”

“This is like in disaster movies when strange phenomenon begins before the real bad stuff starts.”

“I live across the harbor from Yokosuka and never smelled anything. But I’m sure people are going to start saying this is a sign of an earthquake.”

Turns out, seismologist Manabu Takahashi at Ritsumeikan University was way ahead of that last comment and issued his warning right after the first smell incident. For a long time he has been studying the relationship between odors and earthquakes, based on research that found a distinct smell was created by rocks just before they break under stress.

Takahashi explains that large earthquakes don’t occur suddenly, rather they build up gradually over months, with the grinding tectonic plates slowly peeling away at each other before the main shock occurs. The professor worries that this process is what’s generating the widespread smells in the Yokosuka area.

▼ Yokosuka is located near the convergence of the Nankai Trough, Sagami Trough, and Suruga Trough fault lines (those three really big lines in the ocean).

Screen Shot 2020-08-23 at 12.02.32.png

Prior to the 2010 Christchurch Earthquake in New Zealand and 1995 Hanshin Earthquake there had also been reports of unusual smells that were hard to describe but often compared to sulfur or burning rubber.

However, echoing the cynicism of the last comment, warnings that “the big one” is about to hit parts of Japan generally come about once a week, so this too should probably be taken with a grain of salt. After all, there’s no shortage of things in the world that create offensive odors, such as Tokyo Bay, which has recently come under fire for its high levels of fecal matter and bacteria, and is located right next to Yokosuka.

But it’s always a good idea to be prepared for natural disasters when living in Japan, no matter where you are or how it smells on any given day.

Source: Asahi ShimbunNCBIYahoo! News/News Post SevenHachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

38 Comments
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Yikes, I have to lay off binge-eating beans and natto every month, my bad guys. Jokes aside, I wonder why is this a monthly occurrence if the gas comes from under the earth, it's not like the earth moves by itself that much on a monthly basis. Maybe it's swamp gas or someone might have struck a gas deposit during excavation.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

grain of salt or not, this is very unsettling.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

There are factories everywhere. Drive around at night and observe all those emissions that were not happening in the day time. And also remember companies can screw up royally and not feel any obligation to warn the public. Or they just release whatever on purpose without a care in the world. In a group of people pursuing riches so hard they go the step to make a whole factory, you can bet there are going to be quite a few people in there who literally care more about one more yen than your life and health.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Probably someone intentinally doing it? If it happen so many times already between so many months, is possible somebody is getting a thrill out of it by scaring people using some rotten things or stuff that produce this kind of odor.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

“What is it? Methane?”

Methane is odorless.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

As stated methane does not have an odor and the odor is injected into gas lines to make a leak detectable. It is quite possibly sulfur or hydrogen sulfide. Before the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco many people reported smelling a rotten egg type smell (indicative of hydrogen sulfide) across the bay in Sausalito.

Kanagawa prefecture is also home to that large mountain/volcano called Fuji.

Hope it is something else.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Don't forget that Yokosuka is also home to a massive military base, which has to process and dispose of various chemicals in massive amounts.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Fuji san will erupt again one, simply inevitable. Take care in Kanagawa.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Tokyo-EngrToday  09:00 am JST

Kanagawa prefecture is also home to that large mountain/volcano called Fuji.

Have they moved it? It was in Yamanashi/Shizuoka last time I looked.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

"Don't forget that Yokosuka is also home to a massive military base, which has to process and dispose of various chemicals in massive amounts."

US military has a very aggressive hazardous materials program FYI.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

haha... Harry you are right!! They did not move Fuji ..... yet

Needed a bit more coffee

Thanks

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Sulfur dioxide ... SO2

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Hope for the best, expect the worst.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So, a toxic Smell occurs in one’s neighborhood multiple times and it is not investigated by the either the local or national government and that is acceptable?

The moderator here clearly comes from a less developed country than the one I am used to living in to delete my comment on this.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Thank God I am working from home these days in a semi-rural area which means I can run outside in about 3.2 seconds if needs be. I would hate to be in a skyscraper in Tokyo or trapped in a packed rush hour train when the Big One hits.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Talk about hitting (literally) close to home, I smelled something strange on Friday too and living in that general area, I see maybe it wasn't a coincidence. For some of the other posters, there is a Mt. Fuji, which is only about 200 meters high, in the area but it is known as Miurafuji.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I've been to a safety meeting about landslides and the speaker said there can be a "characteristic smell" before they happen.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

We smell this from time to time on the base. No one knows what causes it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Tokyo-Engr - As stated methane does not have an odor and the odor is injected into gas lines to make a leak detectable. 

Um, methane does not run through the gas lines. It is LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) and it does have its own distinct odor.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Teen spirit

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Not much you can do to prepare if it's indeed an upcoming quake. Just make sure you have some sort of emergency kit available at home (and/or work if possible), keep your phone on or near you, and be aware of emergency procedures, evacuation locations, etc. in your area(s). And take care!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Time to eject before Godzilla awakes!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

SO2 smells but not like gas.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

methane does not run through the gas lines. It is LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas)

I think it is largely methane from LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) that runs through the gas pipelines. LPG is generally supplied in cylinders.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Hydrogen sulfide stinks rotten egg, very easy to smell. If not that, then it was hydrogen sulfur. Or a blend...

Why not put gas sensors in that area ?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Vanessa CarlisleToday  08:10 am JST

There are factories everywhere. Drive around at night and observe all those emissions that were not happening in the day time.

Please suggest a route where I can actually see this happening.

Or they just release whatever on purpose without a care in the world. In a group of people pursuing riches so hard they go the step to make a whole factory, you can bet there are going to be quite a few people in there who literally care more about one more yen than your life and health.

Do you have any credible evidence of this?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I know that when you split granite boulders, they give off a rotten eggs like smell during the crushing and loud crack and splitting action. I often joked that it smelled like being around Mt Aso. to which I was reminded of how granite comes to be.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Harry_GattoToday  09:58 am JST

Tokyo-EngrToday  09:00 am JST

Kanagawa prefecture is also home to that large mountain/volcano called Fuji.

Have they moved it? It was in Yamanashi/Shizuoka last time I looked.

Kanagawa has been surreptitiously buying up land in Shizuoka and Yamanashi with the ultimate goal of making it into a super-prefecture to rival arch-enemy, Tokyo. Tokyo-Engr has just leaked their secret plan to the public via this esteemed website.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do you have any credible evidence of this?

I should think the belated information from the Fukushima disaster would clue you in to the fact that we were finally informed of released radioactive gases only because they had to. There have been several disasters that happened in the world because of a pattern of utterly reckless behavior and so many business operators had lots of advance warnings but did and said nothing, in Japan from Minamata Bay to the Myojo 56 building fire. Its also worth noting the Hojo Mine Explosion where they cut off air to survivors to stop the "precious coal" from burning away. In the world from the Molasses Disaster to the Seveso Disaster to the Bhopal disaster.

Of course I do not have evidence that this odor problem is industrial, but if you just do some searches for "industrial disaster" you will find a boat load of evidence that tons of companies hid their dangerous activities until they just couldn't anymore. Its a clear pattern.

Please suggest a route where I can actually see this happening.

I don't know where you live. You don't know where I live. Lets keep it that way. I suggest using the expressway. Drive around in the day time. Find an industrial area. Take notes. Take pictures. Drive by again at 3. a.m. Compare from previous notes and pictures. Sometimes you got to do your own research and not trust others to hand you everything.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not much you can do to prepare if it's indeed an upcoming quake.

There are loads of things you can do including taking a vacation to be a in a safer location. You may notice your bed is not in a safe location (middle of the house or by a wall next to a hill) and choose to sleep on the floor near the door for a while. Or have the family sleep together for a while rather than in separate rooms. Buy helmets and have them handy. Teach yourself and your kids to look up during a quake rather than stand there and be crushed. There is lots people can do to prepare.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Don't forget that Yokosuka is also home to a massive military base, which has to process and dispose of various chemicals in massive amounts."

This maybe correct. It took 200 mothers of USA military to expose hazardous materials on us bases in Okinawa, some toxic land returned to Okinawa.

but as an armchair JT specialist, I would remind people that around Edo period, Tokyo was a big swamp that was covered in concrete. Ever spent time around swamps?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ever spent time around swamps?

I grew up in the Washington DC area.

Looks like there are some anecdotal reports of people reporting a sulfur smell prior to earthquakes. The prospect of another big quake near the sagami trough (Sept 1 is the anniversary) is scary.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Suppose it's not surprising there are such smells when you consider all the hot springs that spew out gases. Hakone isn't that far away and obviously emits a lot of sulfurous gases. If it is natural gas people can smell in Yokosuka, then it could just be exactly that, natural gas. Hopefully it's quite diluted by the time people smell it, otherwise the whole area will need to be declared no smoking!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mystery Odor? so is COVID - 19, Mystery virus at first, then the big one hit.

What ever it is there is a very good reason for these people to be very concerned.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I should think the belated information from the Fukushima disaster would clue you in to the fact that we were finally informed of released radioactive gases only because they had to. There have been several disasters that happened in the world because of a pattern of utterly reckless behavior and so many business operators had lots of advance warnings but did and said nothing, in Japan from Minamata Bay to the Myojo 56 building fire. Its also worth noting the Hojo Mine Explosion where they cut off air to survivors to stop the "precious coal" from burning away. In the world from the Molasses Disaster to the Seveso Disaster to the Bhopal disaster.

Absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter here.

I don't know where you live. You don't know where I live. Lets keep it that way. I suggest using the expressway. Drive around in the day time. Find an industrial area. Take notes. Take pictures. Drive by again at 3. a.m. Compare from previous notes and pictures. Sometimes you got to do your own research and not trust others to hand you everything.

Just to back up your assertions, how about, just this once, providing your notes and pictures as real evidence? How about this: provide all your evidence to JT and let them write an exclusive exposé on these companies polluting our environment.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter here.

Then tell us the exact source of this odor. Until you can, ruling this out seems a bit ridiculous.

Anyway, you asked for credible evidence of what I said and then upon receiving it you pivot to "unrelated"? I don't know, maybe you are having a bad week. But something tells me this isn't the usual you.

How about this: provide all your evidence to JT and let them write an exclusive exposé on these companies polluting our environment.

It sounds to me as if you believe no company ever knowingly polluted the environment nor tried to cover anything up nor could there be any today. I would have about as much luck connecting any company to any pollution as doctors and scientists have had tracing the radioactive iodine in kids' thyroids to Tokyo Electric's Fukushima Daiichi plant.

I know what I have seen and its clear you would not accept any evidence from me anyway given the direction of this exchange. You can see for yourself easily just as I have explained. So why avoid the evidence you would accept and instead demand I provide evidence you won't?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know the source of the odour described in this article any more than you do but I do know that this, what you believe to be "credible evidence", has nothing to do with it.

I should think the belated information from the Fukushima disaster would clue you in to the fact that we were finally informed of released radioactive gases only because they had to. There have been several disasters that happened in the world because of a pattern of utterly reckless behavior and so many business operators had lots of advance warnings but did and said nothing, in Japan from Minamata Bay to the Myojo 56 building fire. Its also worth noting the Hojo Mine Explosion where they cut off air to survivors to stop the "precious coal" from burning away. In the world from the Molasses Disaster to the Seveso Disaster to the Bhopal disaster.

I would have about as much luck connecting any company to any pollution as...........

Despite all your notes and pictures?

I know what I have seen and its clear you would not accept any evidence from me anyway .........

If you have credible evidence I would be the first to accept it and congratulate you. You implied that you had collected evidence in the form of notes and pictures so, how about it?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You implied that you had collected evidence

No I did not. I suggested you do it since you doubt so much. I know what I have seen.

I don't know the source of the odour

Then you don't know its not industrial.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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