You Are A Unique Snowflake – Just Like Everybody Else

So, Christmas is upon us and songs abound with wishes for some of that cold white stuff we like to call snow. (The business we call snow…no, uh, I guess that’d be “show”)

The graphic below from live science shows how these intricate crystals form:

Apparently, snow and ice crystals can form in a variety of unexpected shapes beyond what we typically envision as being “snowflake-ish” – prisms, columns, needles…

Interestingly enough, the old adage that “no two snowflakes are alike” may not be entirely truthful. Many snow crystals in the “early” stages of their development form simple prism shapes; the complex, ornate branches need time and certain temperature conditions to form. Before that stage, most of the crystals are essentially very similar. According to cloud physicist Jon Nelson at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan, as quoted in a live science article:

“How likely is it that two snowflakes are alike? Very likely if we define alike to mean that we would have trouble distinguishing them under a microscope and if we include the crystals that hardly develop beyond the prism stage—that is, the smallest snow crystals,” Nelson said.

“Good luck finding them though,” he added. “Even if there were only a million crystals and you could compare each possible pair once per second—that is, very fast—then to compare them all would take you about a hundred thousand years.”

So while you philosophize about the nature of individuality, check out the links below for photo galleries of the  little icy buggers:

Mark Cassino Photography: Snowflakes – check out galleries and a tutorial on photographing snowflakes – pictures of snow and ice crystals


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