30.2 MB (2.7 MB compressed)
4019 x 2624 pixels
34.0 x 22.1 cm ⏐ 13.4 x 8.7 in (300dpi)
KENNETH LIBBRECHT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KENNETH LIBBRECHT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Snowflakes, light micrograph. 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. 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. Snowflakes can display 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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