January Nature Nugget- Is it True that No Two Snowflakes are the same?

Yes, it’s true!  Just like human fingerprints are each different, every snowflake is different, although each snowflake is made up of thousands of tiny, identically shaped hexagonal (six-sided) crystals gathered together.  There are many reasons that no two snowflakes are alike.  Snowflakes form by sticking to each other while falling and blowing through the wind.  

Snow crystals are frozen water molecules that bond together.   Every snowflake is a collection of snow crystals.  Snowflakes can consist of only 2 snow crystals or hundreds of snow crystals.   Snowflakes are formed when snow crystals grow into tiny, sometimes microscopic, "symmetrical" shapes.    A perfectly formed six-sided snowflake is called "symmetrical".  "Symmetrical" means: proportional, or having an equal number of parts. 

Factors that influence the size and shape of a snowflake are:
·         Air currents (which direction the air is moving)
·         Humidity levels (the amount of water vapor in the air)
·         How long it takes the crystal to fall
·         Wind speed
·         Amount of dust, salt or other solid particles in the air
·         Pressure from the weight of other snow crystals
·         Combining shapes with other snow crystals
·         Changes to any of these factors

Try these Snow Activities