Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Snow Science: A Blizzard Of Information

Date:
December 7, 2000
Source:
American Institute of Physics -- Inside Science News Service
Summary:
A physics professor in California has come up with answers to all of your questions about snow. Caltech's Ken Libbrecht explains everything from why no two snowflakes are identical, to where snowflakes appear in popular culture.

A physics professor in California has come up with answers to all of your questions about snow. Caltech's Ken Libbrecht explains everything from why no two snowflakes are identical, to where snowflakes appear in popular culture.

When Libbrecht first got interested in snow crystals in 1996, he found information hard to find. "The information was scattered all over, mostly in decades-old books and journals," he says. After deciding that others might be just as curious about the white stuff as he was, Libbrecht created his website "Snow Crystals" (http://snowcrystals.net). "The web is the perfect medium for this," says Libbrecht, "especially since the snow crystal story naturally includes lots of pictures."

In addition to marvelous pictures, Libbrecht explains the basics of how snowflakes form. A typical snow crystal begins in a cloud as a very simple hexagonal ice crystal that forms around a small dust particle. As it gets bigger, the crystal sprouts six tiny arms. The snowflake continues to grow and develop, depending on the kinds of temperatures it experiences in the cloud. At one temperature the crystal's arms could gain a flat sectored plate, then later, at another temperature, develop long, thin, "dendritic" extensions. "By looking at a snow crystal on the ground," says Libbrecht, "one can say something about its history – what conditions it encountered during its brief existence."

The professor says the response to his site has been great. He receives e-mail from people who use it for all kinds of research. "One of my favorite e-mails," Libbrecht recounts, "was from a woman who was going to get some snowflake tattoos, and used the pictures on the site for design ideas, and to make sure her designs were realistic."

Libbrecht also answers the age old question about whether there are really no two identical snowflakes. "They're like faces," he says, " When snow crystals are born, and are very small and simple, they look alike. As they grow, they all follow slightly different paths, and so they each grow differently. With time, each grows into its own complex and unique shape." And while two simple snowflakes may look alike, the website explains, the chance of two crystals being identical in the lifetime of the universe is essentially zero.

Website: http://snowcrystals.net


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics -- Inside Science News Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics -- Inside Science News Service. "Snow Science: A Blizzard Of Information." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001205122818.htm>.
American Institute of Physics -- Inside Science News Service. (2000, December 7). Snow Science: A Blizzard Of Information. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001205122818.htm
American Institute of Physics -- Inside Science News Service. "Snow Science: A Blizzard Of Information." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001205122818.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: 12 More Bodies Found on Japan Volcano

Raw: 12 More Bodies Found on Japan Volcano

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A dozen more bodies were found Wednesday as Japanese rescuers resumed efforts to find survivors and retrieve bodies of those trapped by Mount Ontake's eruption. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A Spanish scientist, who spent 12 days trapped about 1300 feet underground in a cave in Peru's remote Amazon region, was rescued on Tuesday. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Media, Industry Groups React To Calif. Plastic Bag Ban

Media, Industry Groups React To Calif. Plastic Bag Ban

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — California is the first state in the country to ban single-use plastic bags in grocery, liquor and convenience stores. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins