Why snowflakes have their unique shape

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Dec 24, 2020, 02:34 PM(IST)

Snowflake Photograph:( AFP )

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Snowflake on its own is a delicate, beautiful structure but in large quantities, it can even bring a megacity to a halt. Beauty of nature indeed

Witnessing snowfall is not something all Indians can experience all time. And for some of us, snow and shape of snowflakes is something we see only in cartoons and fairy tales. But anyone who sees a picture of snowflake is sure to be transfixed for a while.

It's a unique design, perfect structure bearing resemblance to a hexagon. The pristine form makes us amazed at nature's craftsmanship.

But did you know snowflakes are like human fingerprints in a sense no two of them are alike? Yes they have a hexagonal structure but there is an exact science behind the shape of snowflakes.

A snowflake forms when an extremely cold water droplet freezes on dust particle or pollen. As it falls to the ground, each snowflake encounters different atmospheric conditions. It turns into a crystal.

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As the crystal falls to the ground, water vapor freezes on the primary crystal. This gives rise to formation of new crystals. This is visible in the form of six arms of the snowflake. There is an actual classification system for snowflakes and crystal shapes.

The classes are: stellar dendrites, sectored plates, rimed crystals, hollow columns, needles, spatial dendrites, capped columns and irregular forms.

The temperature at which the crystal forms and humidity in the air determines the basic shape of the crystal.

Snowflake on its own is a delicate, beautiful structure but in large quantities, it can even bring a megacity to a halt. Beauty of nature indeed.

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