What Causes the Distinct Smells After Rain

Geo Beats
2K
30 views
  • About
  • Export
  • Add to
There are several causes for the different smells that fill the air before, during, and after a rainstorm. First, some people can actually smell the ozone molecules, comprised of the chemical trioxygen, before a thunderstorm has even started, because lightning tears nitrogen and oxygen molecules apart, forming ozone that gets carried to ground level by the winds of the storm.

Have you ever wondered what makes the distinct smells in the air when it rains?

There are several causes for the different smells that fill the air before, during, and after a rainstorm.

First, some people can actually smell the ozone molecules, comprised of the chemical trioxygen, before a thunderstorm has even started, because lightning tears nitrogen and oxygen molecules apart, forming ozone that gets carried to ground level by the winds of the storm.

Another source of the distinct earthy after-rain smell found predominantly in forests or wooded areas are soil dwelling bacteria whose spore production releases a pungent chemical called geosmin.

Other after-rain smells are caused by oils that are secreted from various plants that release their smell when it rains.

There is a whole class of post-rain fragrances called petrichor, which are airborne molecules of decomposing plants or animals that attach to mineral or clay surfaces.

When the molecules are disturbed by falling water, the petrichor combine with other particles to create a variety of smells.

Petrichor was first identified by mineralogists from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in 1964.

0 comments