A snowflake is an accumulation of ice crystals that fall to the earth when they get too heavy in the clouds above, and are known for their unique structure. How are all these unique snowflakes formed? The creation of a snowflake begins with a tiny speck of dust that has been carried up into the atmosphere by the wind. Ice collects around this tiny bit of dirt and a snow crystal is formed. Snow crystals later combine to make snowflakes and this is what falls down to the earth’s surface. This article covers several facts about snowflakes, detailed below:
* Snowflakes are made up from ice crystals.
* Every snowflake has its own unique shape and is different than all other snowflakes. It is almost impossible to find identical snowflakes due to the different environments each snowflake is exposed to. Even a small change in temperature and humidity can result in snowflakes with structural differences, which is why you will almost never see two matching snowflakes under a microscope. It is statistically possible to find matching snowflakes if their environments are identical, but this is a very rare occurrence.
* The only matching snow crystals are known to have been found in Wisconsin in 1988, but they were not snowflakes in the usual sense due to their hollow structure.
* Snowflakes are not frozen raindrops, but form when water vapor freezes in the clouds.
* All snowflakes have six sides.
* There are six types of snowflakes, and these include: plate (flat), column, stars, dendrite, lacy, needle, and capped column.
* Snowflakes aren’t always white. It depends on the environment and the possible air pollutants such coal dust. Coal dust enters the air and is absorbed by the clouds and may sometimes affect the color of snowflakes, making them grey. In some other places, dust from the soil may be red, and absorption of this dust by the clouds results in pink snowflakes.
* The largest snowflakes ever recorded fell in Fort Keogh in the state of Montana in the United States of America, on 28 January 1887. The snowflakes were 15 inches in diameter, i.e. 38 cm wide, and were also 20 cm thick.
* Stampede Pass in Washington State in the United States of America gets the most snow in the U.S. each year. The average annual snowfall is 430 inches.
* The average snowflake falls at a speed of 3.1 miles per hour (5 kilometers per hour).
* Billions of snowflakes fall during one short snowstorm.
Even though snowflakes are so tiny, they are fascinating in their formation and structure. Hopefully this article has presented new and interesting facts about these unique gifts of nature.