Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Why No Two Snow Flakes Are Alike

With all the snow that Ontario got last night, if you're home reading this because of a snow day, here's some interesting information about snowflakes.

In all that snow, however, scientists believe the chance that any two flakes are exactly alike is virtually zero. Why?

The answer, according to New York-based writer Mariana Gosnell, is in the way snowflakes form and fall to Earth. The process is detailed in her book Ice: the Nature, the History, and the Uses of an Astonishing Substance.

A snowflake begins to form when water vapor condenses around a speck of dust high in the clouds—up to six miles (ten kilometers) up—and then crystallizes.

How the water vapor keeps on condensing and where the snowflake falls "is what determines the way the snowflake, or snow crystal, looks when it lands on your coat sleeve," Gosnell said. "It is extremely sensitive to microenvironments."

Source: National Geographic


Blogger Nicol DuMoulin said...

Nice post.

It good to have something other than politics from time to time.

It's also nice to have a piece on science that does not mention Al Gore.

All the best!

Wed Feb 14, 02:26:00 PM EST  

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