Researchers Reveal the Origin of Sweet Earthy Smell of Rain

January 20, 2015 12:17 AM

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Researchers have unveiled the origin of earthy, sweet smell which lingers in the air after rain. Petrichor is the name of the aroma and for long scientists have tried to uncover the mystery behind the lovely aroma. Now the researchers from MIT have found its actual origin with the aid of high-speed photography. The study has been published in the journal Nature Communications. Super-slow-motion footage created by the researchers demonstrates the way rain smell moves from the ground into the air. Professor of mechanical engineering Cullen R. Buie said “It’s a very common phenomenon, and it was intriguing to us that no one had observed this mechanism before.” He added “Rain happens every day — it’s raining now, somewhere in the world.”

The researchers observed that when a raindrop hits a porous surface tiny bubbles of air are trapped into it which then shoot upwards like the bubbles in a glass of champagne. These bubbles finally burst out of the raindrop creating a fizz of aerosols. Aromatic elements are contained within these aer...

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