This week, those who live in the northern hemisphere will cross their fingers in hopes of a dusting of snow for the holidays. Everyone loves snow for making snowballs and snow forts, plus a blanket of fluffy white stuff just makes it feel like winter. But zoom in and you’ll see one of nature’s most magnificent marvels: the snowflake. Geometric and intricate, snowflakes look like the work of a master sculptor. In fact, they are the product of atmospheric conditions and the unique crystal properties of ice. You can learn how they form in our Video of the Week by the American Chemical Society on the chemistry of snowflakes. That way, even if it doesn’t snow where you live, you can get a glimpse of their extraordinary, delicate beauty and the amazing process by which they form.
Check out more beautiful photographs of snowflakes at CalTech’s SnowCrystals.com.
Shhh…some snowflakes may be ugly. Learn why in this Discovery Channel classic video.
Written by Julia Rosen
Julia Rosen is a freelance science writer and PhD student at Oregon State University. She received a Bachelors degree in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University before beginning her doctoral research on polar ice cores and climate change. In between, she did her Master's in backpacking around the world and skiing. Julia is a periodic contributor to Oregon States research magazine, Terra, and helps write blog content and develop learning modules for Visionlearning.