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there is a word for it

September 23, 2009

Thanks to my indispensable Twitter friends, I now know the word for my most favorite scent on earth. One whiff of it can send me reeling into a dreamy realm that forbids any semblance of care or worry. It also happens to be the one scent capable of teleporting me back home.

  • PETRICHOR (pronounced /ˈpɛtrɨkər/; from Greek petros “stone” + ichor “the fluid that is supposed to flow in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology”) 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 adsorbed by clay-based soils and rocks. During rain, the oil is released into the air along with another compound, geosmin, producing the distinctive scent.
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