These chemicals and temperature changes cause the ice crystal to form a flat plate, a spiky needle, or another shape as it falls towards the earth.
Mathematicians have created an elaborate computer model that shows how feathery ice crystals form in such elaborate patterns, and why. See the slide show featuring some of their snowflakes.
Scientists think that there are really four different shapes of snow crystals. The simplest shape is a long needle shaped like a spike. The other shapes all have six sides. One of them is a long, hollow column that is shaped like a six-sided prism. There are also thin, flat six-sided plates. And lastly there are intricate, six-pointed stars.
How high has the snowflake fallen ?
The star shaped crystals are formed when temperature in the clouds is 3° to 10°F
Plate shapes form when the temperature in the clouds is 10°-18°F
Star shaped crystals form. , 18°-23°F
Columns form 18°-23°F.
needles form from 23°-27°F
the plates reappear. from 27°-32°F
Each snowflake is made up of from 2 to about 200 separate crystals.
Snow crystals grow and get heavier as they fall towards Earth. If the crystals spins like tops as their shape may be perfectly symmetrical when they hit the Earth. Falling snow crystals attach other snow crystals as they fall and clump together forming snowflakes. Not all crystals are proportional. If they have fallen on an angle they may turn out lopsided. Each snowflake is made up of from 2 to about 200 separate crystals.
Excerpts courtesy of The most awesome snow flake site http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/photos2/photos2.htm
Excerpts courtesy of http://www.pa.msu.edu/~sciencet/ask_st/100897.html
Excerpts courtesy of http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/class/class
Image 1. courtesy of http://aura.gaia.com/photos/10/95804/xlarge/Winter_snow_flakes.jpg
Image 2. courtesy of http://webecoist.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/snowflakes.jpg
Happy Peaceful & Healthy Holidays
from All of us at Nature’s Crusaders.
Thank you for all your comments and support this year.