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Is every single snowflake different?
Question Date: 2009-04-13
Answer 1:

This is actually a very tricky question.

Scientists who study snowflake patterns have found that the popular saying isn't quite true - there are many snowflakes that look exactly the same. This is because there are only a certain number of patterns snowflakes make, and eventually these start to repeat themselves.

However, there's more to the story than that! Everything is made up of tiny particles called atoms. If you took a really, really powerful microscope, and looked at how the atoms were arranged in each snowflake, it would be virtually impossible to find any two snowflakes that were the same.

So although it's not quite true that each snowflake is unique (at least to the naked eye), if you go down to a small enough level, each snowflake is still different than any other!

Answer 2:

By chance probably. The shape of snowflakes is dictated by how water molecules attach to the growing crystal. The structure of the crystal is constant - all type-I ice crystals (which snowflakes are) have the same structure. But by chance there will be some parts of the crystal that will bump into more water molecules than another, which is why they would be different.

Answer 3:

There is a great answer to this question on the Cal Tech website here: click_here
Check out the awesome photos, too!

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