Snow crystals

Snow crystals

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Snow crystals. Historical artwork showing the characteristic symmetrical shapes found in snowflakes. The structure of frozen water molecules means that a hexagonal lattice is the only stable crystalline form. A perfect snow crystal would be a regular hexagon, but a variety of meteorological factors lead to imperfections, causing beautiful branching shapes. As no two snow crystals are subjected to exactly the same conditions, no two form identical shapes. Artwork published in The Atmosphere, by Camille Flammarion (1873).

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