Why Does It Smell So Good After It Rains?
Everybody loves the smell of the air after it rains, right? In fact, I believe the laundry detergent we're currently using at home is literally called, "After the Rain". Plus, who can forget the fine song of the same name by Nelson.
Have you ever wondered what causes that odor? According to a study from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology it turns out tiny bubbles may be to thank for that earthy smell after it rains. And not the Don Ho variety.
Two resarchers used high-speed cameras to capture raindrops falling on 28 different types of surfaces and studied what happened to the rain on impact. Here's what they found:
Joung and Buie found that when rain hits a porous surface, like soil, tiny champagne-like bubbles of air are trapped and shoot upward, according to a statement from MIT. The researchers contend those bubbles, or aerosols, may release aromatics (i.e. that earthy smell) and possibly other things stored in soil, such as viruses and types of bacteria.
Bacteria and viruses. Ewwww.
According to USA Today, the study could help research about chemicals in soil and how they "can be delivered in the environment, and possibly to humans." Here's a video about the findings: