By Ruth Forsgren
Did you know that, just like diamonds and rubies, snow is actually a mineral? According to the National Snow and Ice Center, a mineral is a naturally occurring solid that is inorganically formed and has a definite chemical composition (i.e. snow!)
Snowflakes are 6-sided crystals. The water vapor in a cloud joins a tiny dust particle from volcanic ash, pollen, or meteorites. As the water vapor freezes, the water molecules bond together in a specific way leading to the hexagonal shape.
A difficult statistic to narrow down, but most research estimates that between ½ to 2/3 of the world’s population has never seen snow.
Snowflakes are colorless. The snow crystals are translucent and reflect all color waves equally which produces the white color that we see. Deep snow can appear blue because as light is reflected over and over again by all the snow crystals, some of the red waves are absorbed thus allowing blue waves to reflect back to our eye.
In 1988, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO found two identical snowflakes from a snow sample taken right here in Wisconsin.