Hexagonal snowflake

Hexagonal snowflake

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This image is part of the feature The Snowflake World Of Kenneth Libbrecht

Credit: KENNETH LIBBRECHT/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Hexagonal snowflake. Snowflakes are ice crystals that form in air that has a temperature near the freezing point of water. If the air is calm, then a symmetrical, hexagonal snowflake can form. When the growth is slow, the hexagonal, plate shape can be preserved. Usually, branching instabilities and changing temperatures cause complex and beautiful patterns to form as a snowflake increases in size. The hexagonal symmetry of a snowflake is due to the orientation of the water molecules within the lattice of an ice crystal.

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Keywords: 6-sided, christmas, climate, cold, crystal, crystalline, faceting, faceting plate, flake, freezing, frozen, hexagon, hexagonal, ice, icy, meteorological, meteorology, one, pattern, plate, precipitation, season, seasonal, seasons, single, six-sided, snowflake, symmetrical, symmetry, water, weather, winter, wintry, xmas

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