Observe the science of a snowflake

You won't take those eye-catching geometric patterns on snowflakes for granted after seeing this video.

Educate yourself about the tough time this fella went through on the way to see you. Basilicofresco

You might agree that the complex design in a snowflake appears almost comparable to a work of art. Do you know how that tiny frozen masterpiece comes to life, though? If you're like me, you may never have witnessed a complete representation of that journey from cloud to ground before.

The trip isn't as simple as you think.

According to an animated video by the American Chemical Society, clouds carry around one of the usual suspects of a snowflake -- a small piece of dust. When water vapor attaches to a dust grain, it creates an icy droplet ready to fall to the ground. While floating in mid-air, the droplet crystallizes, and a prism with six faces forms.

As the ice grows toward the edges of each side of the prism, six branches sprout out from the center and create the familiar shape of a snowflake -- since freezing water molecules chemically bond in a hexagonal fashion. From there, the snowflake develops its unique series of branches due to shifts in temperature before hitting the ground. Isn't science wonderful?

Watch the two-minute video to see the science of a snowflake in more detail; I'll be sure to play it at my next holiday gathering to geek things up a little bit. On second thought, such behavior might ensure I don't get invited back next year.

About the author

Crave contributor Christopher MacManus regularly spends his time exploring the latest in science, gaming, and geek culture -- aiming to provide a fun and informative look at some of the most marvelous subjects from around the world.

 

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