Snowflake

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: 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. The two main growth patterns observed are faceting and branching. When growth is fast and unstable, branching patterns create a dendritic snowflake. Slower growth allows the straight lines and hexagonal shapes of a plate snowflake. This snowflake displays both types of growth. 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, branching, christmas, climate, cold, crystal, crystalline, dendrite, dendritic, faceting, faceting plate, flake, freezing, frozen, hexagon, hexagonal, ice, icy, meteorological, meteorology, one, pattern, patterns, plate, precipitation, seasonal, single, six-sided, snowflake, stellar, symmetrical, symmetry, unique, water, weather, winter, wintry, xmas

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