How snowflakes are formed

December 16, 2015, 8 a.m.
Snowflake on black background
Photo: ch123/Shutterstock

How much do you know about snow? If you're like most people, you probably know a few things about it once it's on the ground. But do you know how it forms in to unique flakes in the first place?

"Snow crystals grow into their famously diverse shapes depending on the cloud's temperature and humidity," writes MNN's Russell McLendon in his in-depth file, Flaking out: How snow forms. "They collect more and more ice particles as they drop through the cloud, and often clump together as the crystalline drizzle evolves into a snowstorm. By the time these falling crystals exit the cloud's base, they've usually grown into the intricate, latticed starbursts we call 'snowflakes'."

Russell's article is definitely worth a deeper read, but for those who just want to mull over the beauty of a snowflake, we'll leave you with this, one image from a photo collection of perfect snowflakes.

Snowflakes on glass When snowflakes are about, why focus on anything else? (Photo: Thomas Marthinsen/Flickr)

* * *

Would you like your photo to be featured as Photo of the Day? Join our Flickr group and add your photos to the pool!