Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What Is That Scent?

This is Day 7 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is Summer Rain. Please visit the other participants for more interesting views on this topic.


Do you ever step out the door, sniff the air and say, yep it's gonna rain today? Do you wonder why you know this? I'll tell you. It is called petrichor, and is often used to describe the scent of rain in the air. More specifically, it is an oil from the earth that is released into the air just before a rainfall. 

It is a smell that most people are familiar with, whether or not they know why. It is suggested that we find this scent pleasing because we inherited our fondness for it from our ancestors who relied heavily on rain for their survival.

Right before a rain there is increased humidity which penetrates the rocks and soil and is just enough moisture to release the petrichor. This is even more evident when the rain actually begins to fall and the scent is carried on the wind. I notice this earthy fragrance most during an early Summer rain. 

Check out this video to see how this happens.





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12 comments:

  1. This is amazing! I love this post because I love to learn and you shared something I've never heard of before. I can't wait to share it with Michael!
    Ashley

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    1. Hi Ashley,
      This was new to me, too. So glad to know the 'what' and 'why' of that smell. I bet Michael will be interested since he likes all things science.

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  2. Interesting!!!
    It's amazing to see (smell) God's handy work.
    Life is so full of awesome and interesting facts.
    What made you think of this! Keep it up!

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    1. I was stumped as to where to go with the prompt summer rain, and started googling things related to rain, and hit upon the smell of rain in the air. These challenges are always a learning experience for me. There is always something to learn.

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  3. This post was really interesting. I now know what 'petrichor' means. I also discovered on Wikipedia that petrichor is also the smell from oils which are discharged from certain plants during dry periods and when it does start to rain the oils are released into the air along with other compounds. So in places where there is a drought, I imagine that the effects from this reaction called Petrichor are more immense.

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    1. Thanks Clare! I had never heard of Petrichor before, but I often smell that scent before a rain, especially in warm weather. It's nice to know what to call it now.

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  4. Thats very cool. I had no idea that this is where that smell came from. My 2 kids will find that interesting as well.

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    1. Neither did I, nor that there was a name for it. We never stop learning, do we?

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  5. Love that smell. We don't get enough of it in Southern California.

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    1. I love that smell, too. To me it's very fresh and clean and earthy.

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  6. Now that's quite interesting. I've never heard this, but I totally know what you mean about the "It's going to rain. I can smell it."

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    1. That is a wonderful scent, unless of course you are at the ballpark.

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