Sunday, 22 July 2018

petrichor

We just had the first rain showers in weeks yesterday afternoon and the forest did indeed have the scent of something distinctively divine, so we appreciated friend of the blog Nag on the Lake making us wise to the phenomenon that goes by the name petrichor.
From the Greek for stone plus the term ἰχώρ for the ethereal fluid that flows through the veins of the immortals instead of blood, the description for a rich, earthy smell that was around since before there were human noses to detect it was only coined in 1964 by a pair of researchers found that plants released a certain oil into the soil during times of drought to chemically signal to other plants not to germinate right now. Rain drops (especially a gentle and steady fall) aerosolise the oil that’s reacted with the soil as sort of a collected sigh of relief and celebration—an odour which humans appreciate instinctively too as a sign that their crops are saved. We hope other places get relief from this heat wave soon as well.