Snowflake formation, montage

Snowflake formation, montage

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Credit: KENNETH LIBBRECHT/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Snowflake formation, montage. The sequence starts at top left and moves from left to right, ending at bottom right. Snowflakes are ice crystals that form under calm weather conditions when the temperature is near the freezing point of water. Snowflakes have six-fold symmetry, but due to slight differences in the conditions in which they form, no two snowflakes are identical. A wide variety of beautiful patterns are possible. The two basic patterns, which often combine, are plate crystals (flat) and dendritic crystals (branching tree-like patterns).

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