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The Delectable Scent of Ozone, Wet Clay and Organic Molecules
Spring means spring showers—usually followed by that subtle, intoxicating "after-rain" smell in the air that can cause you to drop your umbrella and wander the sidewalks senselessly sniffing. Peter Heaney, PhD, former president of the Mineralogical Society of America and professor of mineral sciences at Penn State, says this potent all-natural perfume usually comes from a mixture of odors: ozone (created by lightning as it transforms O2 into O3); wet clay (a class of minerals with their own "earthy" scent and taste); and grasses, trees, flowering plants and mosses, which, when wet, release "a complex bouquet of organic molecules that we associate with the vegetable world." Hmm...if only we could bottle that.