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A Guide to Snowflakes


If you look closely at the falling snow, you can see several different crystal shapes.

1 Simple Prisms

The most common shape is hexagonal.


It is dependant on how fast the different facets grow, snow crystal prisms can appear as thin hexagonal plates, slender hexagonal columns or anything in between.


Simple prisms can be so small they can barely be seen with the naked eye.

2 Stellar plates

These are the common snowflakes


They are thin, plate-like crystals with six broad arms that form a star-like shape and are often decorated with amazing elaborate and symmetrical markings.

They form when the temperature is near -2°C or near -15°C.

3 Sectored plates

The simplest sectored plates are hexagonal crystals that are divided into six equal pieces.


More complex ones show prominent ridges on broad flat branches.

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