The saying goes something like this no two snowflakes are the same. But is this actually the case? The idea that this might be more myth than fact began to take shape in 2007 and was published in articles and stories by scientists and academic institutions. Nonetheless, these tales demonstrated that snowflakes can be categorized according to patterns that are comparable. It did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that no two snowflakes are same. We explore 18 fascinating facts about snowflakes and their distinctive qualities in this post.
1. Snowflakes Are Composed of Ice Crystals
Because of this internal order, which mimics the arrangement of water molecules in prepared areas, ice crystals are symmetrical or patterned. Crystallization is the process that produces hexagon-shaped snowflakes. Every snowflake is different due of the variations in these configurations.
2. Snowflakes Have Three Basic Ingredients
Water vapor condenses on minuscule dust particles, which can originate from meteorites, plants, or volcanic ash. Water droplets cling to ice crystals in clouds that are cold enough to produce snow, resulting in the formation of larger crystals. Snowflakes are created when these ice crystals come together.
3. Most Snowflakes Are Hexagonal
Every snowflake is made up of billions of molecules of water. Six water molecules unite to form a hexagon at the very center. Consequently, the majority of snowflakes’ six-sided structure is determined by these six water molecules.
4. Snowflakes Are Often Actually Snow Crystals
Often, when we think about snowflakes, we picture larger puffballs that have fallen from the sky. Consequently, these snowflakes are made up of numerous separate snow crystals. We genuinely picture a snow crystal when we imagine the complex pattern on a single flake.
5. There is a Bentley Snow Crystal Collection
Wilson Alwyn Bentley has a passion for snow crystals. His passion with snow crystals started when his mother gave him a microscope for his fifteenth birthday. He was born in Vermont in 1865. He was the first to take a photomicrograph of a snow crystal when his hobby turned into snow crystal photography. These days, everyone can view his photo collection at the Buffalo Museum of Science.
6. There is a Crazy Number of Snow Crystals That Fall Each Winter
About one septillion snow crystals are expected to fall to the earth each winter. That is one trillion trillion, or one with twenty-four zeros after it.
7. Snow Crystals’ Shapes Depend on the Temperature
Few people are aware of the variety of shapes and patterns found in ice crystals. The crystals that resemble six-sided stars that are commonly known as stellar dendrites. These take place while the temperature is at 5°F. On the other hand, columnar snow crystals grow at a little higher temperature of roughly 21°F.Other geometries that can be created by temperature and humidity variations include capped columns, fern-like dendrites, and even snow crystals with twelve or triangular branches.
8. There is an Phobia Related to Snowflakes
Some welcome the winter season with zest, while others look forward to it with dread. Chionophobia is a form of environmental phobia characterized by an unreasonable dread of snow or bad weather forecasts, which is frequently connected to a fear of injury or death.
9. Snow Can Be Pink or Red
An algae known as Chlamydomonas nivalis is the cause of a variety of snow that is referred to as pink, crimson, or blood snow. Because of the slight watermelon smell, this specific snow is also known as watermelon snow. But because of the algae that gives it its color, it is unsafe to consume.
10. NASA Has Observed Snowfall on Mars
While temperatures in some areas of Siberia can drop to -80°F, which is occasionally as cold as or even colder than on Mars, there isn’t the same kind of snowfall there. Carbon dioxide snow descends to the surface of Mars due to clouds of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
11. Not All Snowflakes Are Symmetrical
Snow crystals’ six arms do end up having identical shapes since they grow independently of one another. Nevertheless, when they descend to the earth, the circumstances under which they grow are erratic. Because of this, the great majority of snow crystals are asymmetrical even though they appear symmetrical.
12. Each Snowflake Follows a Unique Path to the Ground
Snowflakes experience slightly varying atmospheric conditions as they descend from the sky to the earth. Because of this, they all have a tendency to have distinct looks, like prisms or needles.
13. Snowflakes Aren’t Really White
Snowflakes are clear even if they appear white to us. The ice crystals that make them are translucent, but not transparent. Light therefore flows through them in an indirect manner. Snowflakes seem white because ice crystals reflect all visible light wavelengths due to their multifaceted nature.
14. Snow Used to Look Gray
When coal mining was common, snow had a gray appearance. The translucency of the snow crystals absorbed the color of the coal dust, which in turn was absorbed by the clouds.
15. The World’s Largest Snowflake Was 15 Inches Wide!
A rancher in Montana discovered a snowflake that was eight inches thick and fifteen inches wide in January of 1887. Despite being included in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest snowflake ever recorded, no pictures exist to document the occasion.
16. Snowflakes Take Their Time Falling to Earth
The snow seems to come at you at an alarming rate during a storm or blizzard. You can have the impression that snow is flying in your face. Snowflakes actually only move at a speed of three to four miles per hour. The wind, though, seems to propel them along more quickly.
17. Most of Our Freshwater Supply is in Ice or Snow
Only slightly more than 3% of the water on Earth is freshwater, with the majority being salty ocean water. Nearly 70% of that tiny percentage is contained within glaciers and ice caps.
18. The Probability of Two Snowflakes Having Similarity is Basically Null
Finding two snowflakes that are identical is not impossible, but the odds are one in one followed by 768 zeros. It would be difficult to sift among the septillion snowflakes that fall each year in search of twin snowflakes. Each snowflake travels a varied route to the earth because it floats through clouds with varying temperatures and moisture contents. These factors give each snowflake its individuality.