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


Caption: Snowflake. This is an ice crystal that forms in air that has a temperature near the freezing point of water. If the air is calm, then a symmetrical, hexagonal snowflake can form. As the snowflake grows larger, the growth becomes unstable and arms start to form at the corners. Here, the growth was stable after the initial formation of the arms, leading to a stellar (star-shaped) snowflake. The type of growth also depends on temperature, which changes in a different way for each snowflake, causing the wide variation in snowflake patterns.

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Keywords: 6-sided, christmas, climate, cold, crystal, crystalline, flake, freezing, frozen, ice, icy, meteorological, meteorology, one, pattern, patterns, precipitation, seasonal, single, six-sided, snowflake, star, stellar, symmetrical, symmetry, unique, water, weather, winter, wintry, xmas

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