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Did you know that the smell of rain has a name? Find out what causes it

Did you know that the smell of rain has a name? Find out what causes it

Petrichor, that's the name of the smell of rain, the one that you probably like a lot, but you don't know how to give it a name.

Petrichor comes just before the rain starts and stays a little after the rain has stopped.

Who can tell, can also predict the rain.

Cats love this perception as their senses are awakened by smells and sounds.

Petrichor is the name given to the smell of rain. It is the result of a chemical reaction, and as mentioned, it is sometimes felt even before it starts to rain. However, when a storm ends, this fragrance also becomes sweeter based on the type of plants, trees, and flowers that are in a particular location.

The origin of the term

You may learn it today, but this term was coined in 1964. It first appeared in an article published in Nature, entitled Nature of Argillaceous Odour, by scientists Isabel Joy Bear and Richard Thomas. The etymology is Greek: it is a word composed of 'petros' or 'stone' and 'ichor', meaning 'the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods'.

What is petrichor caused by?

The fundamental role in the temporary development of petrichor is played by soil bacteria, which are abundant and produce a specific molecule called geosmin. When the water hits the ground, geosmine is released into the air.

This discovery had positive consequences for the perfume industry, which successfully reengineered the molecule for commercial purposes – although not all people like the smell of rain, in fact some find it very unpleasant.

Another reason related to petrichor is the plants: there are chemical substances produced by the leaves in contact with the rain. But there is something else. In a storm there is often lightning, which has the function of improving air quality through electrical discharges. All this contributes to the formation of the special wind.

The reason why many people like it is unknown: maybe it gives you a sense of rebirth, maybe you feel in harmony with nature if you live in the city, or maybe it's just relief because the rain is good for the soil, if you live in the countryside.