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Earliest Literary Mention of the Hexagonal Shape in Show Crystals

Trivia Question: Who made the earliest documented mention of snow formation

Trivia Answer: The Chinese

Earliest documented mentions of snow shape and formation:

The first mention of the hexagonal form in relation to a snow crystal was made in China by Han Ying in 135 BC, in the publication "Hanshi waizhuan".

"Flowers of plants and trees are in general five-pointed. However, flowers of snow, which are called ying, are always six-pointed."

December 27 is Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day!  #Ref

Cool Scientific Things to Know

  • Symmetry, angles, and hexagon shapes of snowflakes and how water forms into ice crystals.
  • Children can easily learn mathematical concepts while making paper snowflakes.
  • Snowflakes are not square, 4 or 8 sided.
  • Snowflakes are generally 6 sided (hexagonal) but can also be two, three and 12 sided.
  • Snowflakes are composed of thousands of tiny, identical, hexagonal shaped ice crystals.
  • Historical snow and ice exploration
  • See how plant and leaf development resembles snowflake formation

How Snowflakes for Children Can Help

Snowflake instructions diagram the steps to create accurate snowflake designs based upon common scientific snowflake classifications.

  • Each snowflake template image represents a common Snowflake Classification
  • Each snowflake instruction page explains how to cut snowflakes using the science of nature as your guide. Many of the patterns in our pattern library were designed from Snowflake bentley, the Snowflake Man photographs of actual snowflakes .
  • Make a flake for fun winter related craft patterns and projects. Use squares of origami, tissue paper, or other light weight paper, creative techniques and craft supplies to make a variety of snowflake designs.

What are common snowflake shapes and sizes?

Frozen Clouds help create snow crystals!

Snowflake crystals form when water vapor cools and freezes inside clouds.

You might be surprised to find that snowflakes are not all six-sided.

Here are just a sample of the many forms snowcrystals can take:

snowflake classification: NeedlesNeedles
snowflake classification: Hollow ColumnHollow Columns
snowflake classification: PlateSector Plates
snowflake classification: DendriteDendrites

Guide to Different Types of Snowflakes and Other Flaky Facts

There are many reasons that no two snowflakes are alike. Snowflakes form by sticking to each other while falling and blowing through the wind. Factors that influence the size and shape of a snowflake are:

Snowflakes form by sticking to each other

  • Air currents (in which direction the air is moving)
  • Humidity levels (the amount of water vapor in the air)
  • How long it takes the crystal to fall
  • Amount of dust, salt or other solid particles in the air
  • Pressure from the weight of other snow crystals
  • Combining shapes with other snow crystals
  • Changes to any of these factors

How do Snowflakes Form?

  • Falling snow starts with precipitation
  • Falling snow is called "Precipitated Snow".
  • "Precipitate" means: to condense as a vapor and fall from the sky.
  • Every snow crystal starts as "precipitation".

The book: "Rain, Hail, Snow and Sleet" teaches about "precipitation".

Snowflakes are Symmetrical

  • Every snowflake is a collection of snow crystals
  • Snowflakes can consist of only 2 snow crystals or hundreds of snow crystals.
  • Snow crystals are frozen water molecules which bond to each other.
  • Snowflakes are formed when Snow Crystals grow into tiny, sometimes microscopic, "symmetrical" shapes.
  • "Symmetrical" means: proportional, or having an equal number of parts.
  • A perfectly formed 6-sided snowflake is called "symmetrical".

Metamorphosed Snow

  • Every snowflake changes as it ages.
  • Changing snow is called "Metamorphosed Snow".
  • "Metamorphose" means: to change or transform into a different physical form.
  • Water vapor that has changed into snow crystals is "Metamorphosed snow".

No Two Snowflakes Are Exactly Alike

It's true, just like human fingerprints are each different, every snowflake is different, although each snowflake is made up of hundreds or even thousands of tiny, identically shaped hexagonal crystals gathered together.

There are an infinite variety of snowflakes. Wilson (Snowflake) Bentley, an American farmer who devoted most of his life to the examination and photography of snowflakes, never found two identical snowflakes.

Snow crystal forms generally fall into broad categories, or Snowflake and Ice Crystal Classifications which are used to create a common form of reference to describe snow crystals.

Why should we care about Snow types?

The simple answer: Avalanches Happen

Global Snowflake Network Scientists are enlisting volunteers to document the shape of snowflakes around the world.

Where is the Coldest Place on Earth?

Antarctica is the coldest place on earth. The next coldest places are a few areas in Russia.

The snowflakes that fall on Antarctica hold valuable scientific information about the atmospheric conditions at the time of their formation.

This long-term climatic and environmental information is contained in the dust, chemicals and gas that was trapped in the ice during the snowflake's formation.

The Antarctic ice sheet is a collection of snowfalls that fell over hundreds of thousands of years.

Snowflake Glossary of Terms - Weather Terminology

Definitions Glossary of Snow Terms:

  • Ablation: Most common form of snow
  • Blizzard: Winds of at least 35 mph, along with considerable falling or blowing snow that reduces visibility to less than one-quarter mile for at least three hours
  • Dendrite: Hexagonal ice crystals with complex and fern like branches
  • Graupel: Sometimes mistaken for hail, these are snowflakes that become rounded pellets due to riming
  • Rime: A deposit of ice formed when super cooled water droplets freeze on contact
  • Snow bursts: Very intense showers of snow, often of short duration, that greatly restrict visibility and produce periods of rapid snow accumulation
  • Snow flurries/snow showers: Snow that falls for short duration and often changes in intensity. Flurries usually result in very little accumulation.
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