Word of the Day – Petrichor!

No Sure if there will be other words on other days, but it has been raining here in the South of England and I wondered if there was an explanation for the strange smell that is evident after it rains. Amazingly there is a word to describe the smell.

Petrichor: is the name of the scent of rain on dry earth.
The term was coined in 1964 by two Australian researchers, Bear and Thomas, for an article in the journal Nature. In the article, the authors describe how the smell derives from an oil exuded by certain plants during dry periods, whereupon it is absorbed by clay-based soils and rocks. During rain, the oil is released into the air along with another compound, geosmin, producing the distinctive scent. In a follow-up paper, Bear and Thomas (1965) showed that the oil retards seed germination and early plant growth.

Related Posts

About The Author

Add Comment