JUN 09, 2016 01:45 PM PDT

The Sweet Smell of Rain

2 6 316

Ever notice that country rain smells so much better than city rain, especially after a long dry spell?

In short, it's because the smell of rain isn't in the droplets themselves but is a blend of environmental contributions. For nature to produce that sweet, clean, fresh smell it needs...well...nature.

Plants are a key contributor, especially after periods of drought. In arid times, some plants secrete essential oils into the environment. When the rain finally comes the aromas are released into the air. These airborne scents mix with those wafting from forests where moist conditions foster the growth of geosmin, a chemical produced by soil-loving bacteria. The pounding of the rain releases their musty yet pleasing aroma. The third major ingredient is ozone, which provides the clean, almost chlorine-like, notes.

Beyond its chemistry what makes it so appealing could be explained by evolution. Anthropologist Diana Young, based on her cultural studies in West Australia, found that people associated rain with the promise of growth and replenished food supplies.

Source: Geobeats
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JUL 04, 2018
Videos
JUL 04, 2018
Jockey Will Donate Brain for CTE Research
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a condition where the brain, after repeated traumatic impacts, is injured. Brain function slows down and cognitio
JUL 25, 2018
Videos
JUL 25, 2018
Is Your Brain Completely Unconscious During Anesthesia?
For surgical procedures, anesthesia is a necessary part of patient care. Anesthesia is thought to render a patient unconscious, but according to new r
JUL 28, 2018
Videos
JUL 28, 2018
23andMe Announces Partnership with Drug Company GSK
The collaboration aims to improve personalized therapeutics.
AUG 10, 2018
Videos
AUG 10, 2018
Why Cuttlefish are Called Chameleons of the Sea
Did you know that cuttlefish can change color, texture, and shape? Did you know they contain a bone called the cuttlebone? There is a reason why they are c
AUG 16, 2018
Videos
AUG 16, 2018
Why won't my ears stop ringing?
An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus in some form. Two million of those people suffer from ringing in their ears so severely that they ca
AUG 17, 2018
Videos
AUG 17, 2018
Why do I self-sabotage before a big exam?
Have you ever been so stressed about an exam that you ended up sabotaging yourself? Psychologists use the term "self-handicapping" to refer
Loading Comments...