Social Question

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Does fog have an odor?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (26784points) October 30th, 2011

Probably an odd question, but we have a very dense fog right now (I can barely even make out the outlines of my neighbors’ homes)... and there is a strange smell in the air. It almost reminds me of stone or a mineral type of scent, that’s the only way that I can think to describe it.

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10 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

Ideally it should not. Fog is just air and water and both are odorless, tasteless and colorless. It is formed when the air temperature drops and water vapor that can no longer remain in solution begins to form droplets. There should be no odor. However, the microscopic water droplets can pick up microscopic particulates that are in the air. They could be from a factory or power plant many miles away, or wood smoke from your neighbor, dust from grasses, soils and trees, or even a particle or two from my house where I burned some leaves.

bkcunningham's avatar

Fog forms from the ground up. Perhaps it picks up smells from the ground in the heavy saturation of water vapor.

Mamradpivo's avatar

Most dense fogs that I remember have an intense odor. They tend to smell a little “earth-y” and “woods-y.” Not bad, not good, just like the earth.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Mamradpivo I agree. It isn’t a bad smell. It smells… mineral-y. It reminds me almost of a quarry or what it would smell like if you picked up a piece of stone and sniffed it.

Nimis's avatar

Yes, though I seem to notice it more when I’m in a less familiar area or country. I suspect that has to do with me acclimating to the smell of the air. Maybe the smell of fog is just the condensed smell of the air?

marinelife's avatar

Not normally. This must be a form of pollution. I would avoid the fog.

Nimis's avatar

@marinelife That might be true in some cases.
But I often notice it when I’m out in nature.
Much cleaner air than in the city.

HungryGuy's avatar

Just as long as there’s no monsters sneaking through from an alternate dimension…

zenvelo's avatar

^ ^ And no zombies coming out of the fog.

I live in the SF Bay Area where we have fog all the time. Fog itself has no odor, but it seems like odors bond to the moisture, and then are more easily smelled. When by the ocean, the fog tends to smell like the water, including a hint of salt. Inland, it accentuates what ever is near by.

I lived within a few blocks of the Pacific when I was in Santa Barbara. The Santa Barbara Channel has a lot of natural oil seepage; on a foggy day you could definitely smell it on shore.

linguaphile's avatar

The fog in the Smoky Mountains/Appalachians where I lived has a very distinctive odor. The fog up here in Minnesota smells different. I think others explained it well when they said the fog picks up the smells from the environment.

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