Why does rain have such a distinctive smell? (Thinkstock)
Why does rain have such a distinctive smell?
Lexile

You asked us a question. Why does rain have such a distinctive smell?
 
A rainstorm has all kinds of different odors. Three are common the world round.
 
You know that sweet fresh smell that rolls in on the wind right before a storm? That's ozone you smell. Ozone is a form of oxygen. It is created by lightning. It floats down from much higher altitudes. 

Ozone protects our planet from the sun's harmful rays. That happens way up in the atmosphere. Down at ground level, harmful concentrations of the gas create things like smog.
 
But let's get back to the question.
 
Another smell wafts up after the rain starts to fall. That smell is petrichor. The smell occurs when plant oils get displaced by rain and are carried into the air.
 
Last but not least is the damp, musky smell that happens after a storm passes. That smell is geosmin. It is an organic compound. It's created by bacteria in soil.
 
There have been many attempts to bottle the perfectly heady smell of rain. But so far, no one's been able to do so.
 
Look out for when the next good summer storm rolls in. Take the time to drink in those sweet, elusive scents.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why hasn't anyone been able to bottle the smell of rain yet?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (51)
  • silverc-bel
    3/10/2016 - 02:01 p.m.

    It hasn't rained for a while.

    • sarafin-m1-moo
      9/13/2016 - 03:09 p.m.

      same over here dude

    • sarafin-m1-moo
      9/13/2016 - 03:09 p.m.

      same here

  • sophies-bel
    3/10/2016 - 02:03 p.m.

    The smell of rain is a natural smell so when you go bottle it it goea away right at the first second you put it in the bottle.

  • tylerr2-bel
    3/10/2016 - 02:03 p.m.

    Because you can't have wind in a bottle.

  • elliew-bel
    3/10/2016 - 02:05 p.m.

    Because it's rain and if you bottle the rain the smell might go away maybe.

  • jenniek-bel
    3/10/2016 - 02:09 p.m.

    After rain hits the ground it smells and after a while it loses its smell.

  • markm-3-bar
    3/10/2016 - 03:59 p.m.

    No one has been able to bottle the smell of the rain yet because you can't simply just really bottle any smells at all and especially with the rain smell it doesn't rain very often. I like the smell of rain before and after a lot so this article interested me. I never knew any of this so I'm glad and surprised that I got to learn all of this.

  • darianv-3-bar
    3/10/2016 - 06:05 p.m.

    No one has been able to bottle the smell of rain yet because there are many different parts to the perfect smell of rain with many different components. "There have been many attempts to bottle the perfectly heady smell of rain. But so far, no one's been able to do so."
    I like this article because i like the smell of rain so much and it reminds me of my home in Texas.

  • oliviaw-4-bar
    3/10/2016 - 11:30 p.m.

    Bottling the unique smell of rain has proved to be a difficult challenge. Exclusive odors that are created only in the Earth's atmosphere are some of the main reasons for the difficulty of bottling this specific scent. Ozone—one of the three odors responsible for the recognizable 'rain-smell'—is, "created by lightening", and it, "protects our planet from the sun's harmful rays." However, this substance is only found and can only be made in our atmosphere, and our natural supply of Ozone is diminishing, hence the impracticality of bottling the substance. Other constituents that are included in the process of rain attaining its distinctive smell include petrichor and geosmin. Both of these substances are difficult to attain. All of these factors contribute to the well-known rain-scent being unable to be bottled.

    I found this article to be interesting as the smell of rain has always appealed to me, an the possibility that a scent like that could be bottled was intriguing—until, of course, I read the article and understood that the smell would be extremely difficult to capture. Overall, I found the article interesting and informative.

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