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Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Smell After Rain....

The chances of someone you meet being able to use the word petrichor correctly in a sentence are very low. And, given the state of our planet's educational establishments, the chances of that person telling you what petrichor and the gulf oil spill have in common are even lower.

Just to confuse things, lets tie petrichor, the gulf oil spill, and sustainable living together. Trust me, it's not the Gordian knot it seems. :o)

Petrichor is the smell after rain. The smell is caused by a bacteria (Actinomycetes) releasing spores into the moist air. Nice.

Sporing is also one way fungi like Pleurotus ostreatus spread. P. ostreatus is a mushroom that can turn crude oil into usable compost for the garden. Where you can grow food, and more mushrooms, and more Actinomycetes.

*cue the Circle of Life soundtrack*

When your character steps off the space ship onto an alien planet to take a deep breath of xenophilic air watch out! If the sweet petrichor of the scene moves them to memories of home there is some serious interplanetary cross contamination going on. ;o)

Now that we have the firm foundation of ecosystems to build up from we'll move on to other things your world needs to be self-sustaining.
Photo courtesy of and copyright to Taylor F. Lockwood. Thank you for the beautiful work.


  1. Very interesting. I'll openly admit to having had no idea what petrichor was before your post, but now I know... :)

    p.s. This particular verification word, "speraxi," sounds like a fungus.