That amazing smell we all love
The little things in life often are what make us the happiest. A hug from a loved one. The taste of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Wearing warm socks right after they come out of the dryer. And, of course, the amazing smell of rain after a long-awaited downpour.
You weren't imagining it!
It’s not all in your head, either. That pleasant, earthy smell of rain, known as petrichor, is caused by the release of specific chemicals when the rain reaches the ground. It’s as if the earth is rewarding everyone for putting up with terrifying thunderstorms and sudden deluges sans umbrella.
Soil-dwelling bacteria called Streptomyces secrete a molecule called geosmin, BBC reports. When rain hits the soil, the raindrops trap air bubbles containing geosmin. The bubbles move through the raindrop and burst out of it as aerosols, even smaller particles dispersed through the air. Once the geosmin gets off the ground and into the air, we’re able to smell it distinctly because human noses are extremely sensitive to it. According to Smithsonian Magazine, some people can smell it even when the concentration is as low as five parts per trillion.