Breakdown: Why no two snowflakes are alike

Breakdown: Why no two snowflakes are alike

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Do you remember as a kid, folding a piece of paper, cutting the corners, unfolding it and then admiring your snowflake? Well if you do, you will remember that everyone’s paper snowflake looked slightly different as no two cuts were exactly alike.

In this episode of the breakdown, we will tell you why no two snowflakes are the same.

Cold Snow Crystal Macro Snow Snowflake Crystal
Cold Snow Crystal Macro Snow Snowflake Crystal (https://www.maxpixel.net/)

A snowflake forms when extremely cold water droplets freeze onto pollen or dust particles in the atmosphere.

This freezing of the particle creates an ice crystal and as it falls to the ground, water vapor freezes onto the primary crystal, thus building new crystals, or the six arms that we see on snowflakes.

Ultimately, the temperature at which a crystal forms, and to a small extent the humidity in the air, is what determines the basic shape of the ice crystal.

This means that crystals that form at 23 degrees are different that those that form at 5 degrees.

There are always six arms on the snowflake, but the shapes are determined by the atmosphere conditions experienced by the ice crystal as it falls.

A crystal may grow arms in one way then change as it falls because of the temperature and humidity changes.

The reason why snowflakes are not the same is due to the path they take to the ground. They encounter various atmospheric conditions, meaning each snowflake is unique, resembling everything from prisms and needles to the familiar lacy pattern.

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