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Snow Crystal Journal


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The following description appears on the inside cover of your journal.


Snow Crystal

The exquisite, delicate beauty of snow crystals has attracted and fascinated people for generations. Like any art form expressed in miniature, the tiny crystals captivate the imagination and inspire awe. And they have an almost unbelievable number of forms and designs! Although all snow crystals share a hexagonal molecular structure and are made of ice formed in atmospheric cloud fields, close inspection reveals that they bear little resemblance to one another. Certain conditions of moisture and temperature will create distinguishable types of snow crystals, yet the variations on a theme are infinite.

Snow crystals can be simple or ornate. Types include six-rayed stars, hexagonal plates, columns, bullets, needles and irregular forms with no real symmetry at all. Stellar crystals, although they represent only a small portion of all the snow that falls, have clearly become the symbol for all snow. Simple crystals range in size from 1/32 to 1/2 inch. During a heavy snowfall, with mild temperatures, stellar crystals often cling together in cottony bundles as large as 2 inches across. This cluster of snow crystals is…a snowflake!

A snow crystal begins when water in the atmosphere condenses about a nucleus and freezes. Water molecules have an electromagnetic pattern for creating ice crystals; these microscopic gems of ice toss, whirl and tumble through the storm cloud for about 30 minutes before the details of their design are unveiled. When the snow crystal is fully formed and begins its earthbound descent, it travels an uncertain path at best, and most crystals reach the ground a bit travel-worn and not quite perfect.

Snow crystals buffeted about in a turbulent storm cloud encounter a wide spectrum of fluctuating vapor levels and temperatures, which partly, but only partly, explains the tremendous diversity of designs that are created. One question, as yet unanswered, is why the branches of an individual snow crystal are always identical. Why isn’t one side different from the other? Perhaps the electrical charges of the water molecule somehow determines this symmetry: or perhaps something else is at work.

artwork and text by Steve Sierigk and Christi Sobel 

text by Steve Sierigk