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VIDEO: What causes that wonderful after-the-rain smell? Slow-mo video reveals secrets.

That familiar scent has a name: Petrichor.

But since being named in a 1964 report, the actual cause of the after-the-storm “earthy fragrance” had been little more than theory.

That changed in January when MIT researchers captured a specific raindrop phenomena on video. Scientists observed raindrops trapping tiny air bubbles as they hit the ground. BBC explains:

They say the bubbles then shoot upwards through the raindrop and erupt into a fizz, producing extremely fine liquid droplets or solid particles that remain suspended in the air as fog or smoke, known as aerosols.

The authors suspect that the tiny particles that released into the environment release the wonderful aromatic elements from the soil along bacteria and viruses stored within.


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