Rainfall Spews Aerosols

By Anupum Pant

Remember the time I mentioned petrichor? No one at that time was totally sure about what caused this. The constituents which made it up certainly were known, but the mechanism was hidden.

There’s a good chance that mechanism is no longer a mystery. A team of MIT researchers, using hi-speed cameras seemed to have found something which has never been directly observed till date. It’s amazing that rain falls all the time, everywhere, and so many people have access to hi-speed cameras, yet only the ones who are observant enough have first seen it.

When a raindrop falls on a porous surface, very tiny bubbles get trapped under it. Pretty soon, like the bubble rising from the bottom of your coke, these rise up to the surface of the bubble and escape. These escaping tiny bubbles spew a fizz of aerosols into the air – which probably is constituted of several compounds andĀ gives the rainfall its signature smell. This could be the mechanism, or not. It’s a hypothesis for now.

What amazes me the most that no one thought of looking through a hi speed camera to see what causes petrichor. A simple thing to be discovered, yet a major discovery. I can’t think over enough, wondering how many simple things around us are happening every minute and are still waiting to get discovered.

via [MIT News]

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