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Caption: Columnar snowflake. Snowflakes are symmetrical ice crystals that form in calm air with temperatures near the freezing point of water. The exact shape of a snowflake depends on local climatic conditions, mainly air temperature and humidity. This is a columnar snowflake, often formed in lake-effect snow storms. These are snow storms associated with large lakes such as the Great Lakes of Canada and the USA. No two snowflakes are identical, as each experiences a wide range of conditions as it forms inside a cloud.

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Keywords: christmas, climate, cold, columnar, crystal, crystalline, flake, freezing, frozen, ice, icy, lake-effect, light micrograph, light microscope, meteorology, precipitation, snow, snowflake, water, weather, winter

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