A snowflake is a group of snow crystals that are stuck together. Many believe that snowflakes are simply frozen rain drops but this is not true. Snow crystals, which make up snowflakes, form from frozen vapor in the clouds, while frozen raindrops are sleet. The smallest snowflakes are referred to as diamond dust crystals and can be as small as human hair in diameter. These tend to appear more often in extremely bitterly cold climates. The largest snowflakes can be as big as a penny. It is estimated that approximately 1 million billion snowflakes fall every second on earth.
Interesting Snowflake Facts:
- It is estimated that roughly half of the people in the world have never seen snow in person.
- Snow is not actually white. It is translucent. Because light cannot pass through easily, it is reflected instead, resulting in its white color to the eye.
- Snow can also appear blue if it has had a chance to build many layers. In areas with deeper snow it is more likely to appear blue.
- Snow can appear pink in areas where some types of fresh water algae tint the snow with red pigment.
- The record for the most snowfall in the United States in a 24 hour period occurred in 1921, in Silver Lake, Colorado. 75.8 inches fell between April 14 and April 15.
- There has never been a report of snow falling in Key West, Florida. The temperature there has only dropped to 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Although made of snow, an igloo can actually be 100 degrees warmer on the inside than it is on the outside. Igloos are made from compacted snow which does not transfer heat because it is mostly trapped air.
- The largest snowball fight to take place occurred in Seattle in 2013, when 5,834 people participated in an exchange of snowballs.
- The largest number of snow angels made in one place occurred in North Dakota in 2007, when 8,962 people laid in the snow and created snow angels.
- There is a myth that no two snowflakes are alike. There may be snowflakes that appear very similar but nobody has ever been able to photograph two identical snowflakes. This doesn’t mean that two identical snowflakes have never existed.
- A snowflake’s shape is determined by the humidity and temperature when it is formed.
- The types of snowflakes include the needle crystal, columnar crystal, plate crystal, combination of columnar and plate crystals, columnar crystal with extended side planes, rimed crystal, irregular snow crystal, and germ of snow crystal.
- Every snowflake has approximately 200 snow crystals.
- A snowflake has six sides.
- A snowflake falls at a speed of 3 – 4 miles an hour.
- The majority of the world’s fresh water supply is in ice and snow.
- Approximately 105 snowstorms hit the United States, on average, each year.
- In 2008 a 122 foot tall snowman was built in Maine.
- In 1992, the city of Syracuse, considered the snowiest major city in the U.S., passed a decree making any more snow illegal before Christmas. It snowed anyway.
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