The Science of Snowflakes

Since I was little, I loved snow. I would always wait for it to start snowing outside so i could start building my snowman with a carrot nose and rocks for eyes. The snowman would even have a little, wool hat and actual buttons on its second half. It was always a competition with the neighborhood kids. Every winter we would see who could build the tallest and best looking snowman. I was really good at this. Me and my sister may have been at an advantage because of the huge age difference, however. Iv’e always been curious about the formation of snow. Sometimes the snow is more dense and others it appears as if rain. I researched the science behind where it comes from, the different types and two alike snowflakes never existing. 

Snow comes from the clouds when water vapor freezes on a particle of dust, a floating bit of bacteria, or another solid material. This fact isn’t surprising because it is similar to how precipitation is created and I was already knowledgeable of this.  Ice crystals form around a core particle in the air moisture and when the water vapor condenses and freezes, a snowflake is created. When you think of a snowflake, a hexagon shape comes to mind. Even if you look up a snowflake, it comes up. Although in reality, they appear to carry a circular shape. Snowflakes do indeed have a hexagon shape which is created at atomic level because water molecules bond together into stable crystal structures. 

I wasn’t aware that snowflakes had different patterns. I assumed they were supposed to be the same but some were different if something went wrong. There are six categories: Needles, columns, plates, columns capped with plates, dendrites, and stars. These six categories exist because of the different temperature conditions within a cloud. In my opinion, this is very interesting. I see how there can be multiple patterns but I would of never guess there would be so much patterns, There are six patterns and thirty five different shapes that every snowflake falls into. 

When I see it snowing outside, all the snowflakes look the same to me. They look like circles falling out of the sky but as I found above, snowflakes have different shapes and patterns. All snowflakes fall into at least one of every category but no two snowflakes are the same. It has not been proven if two snowflakes can be a like because if two snowflakes were to fall on someones head, they wouldn’t know because they look the same to us without using a telescope. However, a possibility is a nano-snowflake. Scientific research shows that elementary particles indicates that all electrons are exactly, precisely the same. so, snowflakes should have a possibility of being the same.

A lot of things are exactly the same in nature and most parts of our lives, but snowflakes are different. No two snowflakes can be the same and this is really cool. I learned about this in elementary school but never believed it, until now. With my research, I find out a lot about snowflakes. I discovered more about how exactly they are created, the different types, and the possibilities of two alike snowflakes existing. I still love the snow. Unfortunately, where i live it does not snow much, but when it does the snow quickly forms into a slush. Usually there’s some good snow for a few days so I don’t wait to start building a snowman before the snow melts. I still love snow and at this moment. I am awaiting for the moment it starts to snow. 

Snow(c) Mdf, CC BY-SA 3.0

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