Did you know that there are different types of snowflakes?
Simple prisms are hexagonal and the most basic structured of all snowflakes. These can appear as flat and plate-like, slender columns or a variety of shapes in between the two. Simple hexagonal prisms are incredibly small and often not able to be seen without a magnification device.
Stellar Plates are Thin, flat and plate shaped these flakes have six wide arms and create a star like appearance. The designs found on these flakes are often incredibly detailed with the markings being symmetrical. This type of snowflake occurs when temperatures are hovering near the -15 degree mark.
Sectored Plates are appropriately named with their distinctive ridges that work as section type dividers between the prism facets. The most common ones are divided in six individual parts. The more complex flakes of this type have very obvious ridges on the flat branches.
Stellar Dendrites are plate like but have branches and offshoots like a tree. Two to four mm in diameter these are seen quite easily. This type of snowflake is quite popular and often the model for the school aged child’s art, as well as winter decorations found in stores everywhere.
Fernlike Stellar Dendrites are basically like Stellar Dendrites but that have many more branches giving them a fern like appearance. This is the largest of snowflakes and can measure 5mm in diameter or more. These flakes accumulate quickly and can soon cover everything in sight.
Hollow Columns are cylindrical in shape and have small hollow areas on either end. The hollows are symmetrical and reach the same depth as the other end. These flakes are very small and a magnifying device is needed to see them.
Needles are thin, column shaped ice crystals. They occur when the temperatures are around 23 degrees. These can be thin and flat or more needle shaped depending on the temperature.
Capped Columns are produced when short columns have flat plates on both ends. These are less common than some of the other types of snowflakes.
Double Plates are essentially the same as Capped Columns. The difference being that the center column is extremely short and barely noticeable.
Split Plates and Stars are a variation of the Double Plate. The difference being that one section of the plate increases in size along with part of the other plate.
Triangular Crystals are created when a plate flake experiences arm like growth. This results in the triangular shape. This type of flake seldom occurs.
12-Sided Snowflakes are exactly that. Capped Columns sometimes morph into twin like crystals that create twelve distinctive sides. These are very rarely seen.
It is simply amazing when one stops to think how many different types of snowflakes there are. Many of us may not know there are differences in them.