Q: What exactly causes that fresh/earthy scent when it rains in the Valley? It’s a real distinct scent, not flowery or sweet, but more like a fresh, clean smell.
A: Your question worked its way to the top of the pile at just the right time — Tuesday, when we had that delightful morning rain. As soon as the skies cleared we leapt into the Valley 101 mobile research lab, and set out to find the source of the scent.
You are right. There was a truly remarkable aroma in the air, which we soon traced to a half-eaten Big Mac under the floor mats in the backseat of the Valley 101 mobile research lab. While we would not describe this as “fresh/earthy” it was definitely distinctive.
After a stop at the car wash, we sought advice from the estimable Carolyn O’Malley, executive director of the Desert Botanical Gardens and an honorary member of the Valley 101 faculty.