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Dreaming About the Smell of Rain

By   /  February 23, 2015  /  1 Comment

Petrichor is the word for the smell of rain. It happens because, basically, the earth is “fizzing.”

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Don’t get me wrong, I love winter. I love the puffy, white snow. I love the refreshing, cold air. Even the long, dark nights make for more time around the table with family.

But the smell of spring rain is something to look forward to. We’re pretty sure that it will come. Not this week or next, but sometime. While we’re waiting for it, we’re thinking about why the air smells different when it rains. You probably knew it was because of the soil, but here’s how it happens, shown in 90 seconds, all thanks to the folks at MIT and some researchers in Australia.

Why do we care? This research could help explain how diseases, including E. coli, spread through the environment.

Tablet readers, here’s your link.

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  • Published: 2 years ago on February 23, 2015
  • By:
  • Last Modified: February 23, 2015 @ 9:55 am
  • Filed Under: Consider This

About the author

editor and contributor

Rachel's interest in sustainable agriculture and grazing has deep roots in the soil. She's been following that passion around the world, working on an ancient Nabatean farm in the Negev, and with farmers in West Africa's Niger. After returning to the US, Rachel received her M.S. and Ph.D. in agronomy and soil science from the University of Maryland. For her doctoral research, Rachel spent 3 years working with Maryland dairy farmers using management intensive grazing. She then began her work with grass farmers, a source of joy and a journey of discovery.

1 Comment

  1. Brian Tremback says:

    Interesting effect. I wonder how this translates to a vegetated landscape where raindrops are almost all hitting leaves and stems at various angles.

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