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The ProjectDragonflyteam.

Make a Snowflake

Almost every snowflake that falls from the sky is different. Until 1988, no one had ever seen two snowflakes that were exactly alike. However, in that year researchers documented two snowflakes with no discernible differences. Snowflakes can generally be grouped by common shape. Most flakes are hexagonal stellar crystals (six points) or hexagonal plates (six-sided). Others are dodecagonal (twelve-sided), pyramidal, or rarely "stud" snowflakes composed of two snowflakes attached through their centers by an ice crystal.

Hexagonal stellar crystal flakes are common. They can be found just about anywhere it snows. Hexagon plate flakes form more slowly high in the clouds. Stud snowflakes form only in very cold conditions. One of the rarest types of snow flakes is shaped like a pyramid. Because this flake is so rarely seen, the basis of its formation is not clearly understood.

Make a Flake

Click on the highlighted words below to create your own "virtual" snowflakes for different weather conditions. Your job will be to "make" a flake appropriate to the climatic conditions described.

Click on the Words or Pictures to Explore Ice and Snow Further

Ice and Snow Intro Greetings from Antarctica! Learn About Ice Learn About Snow Further Reading Dragonfly Home

Some of the pictures of snowflakes come to us by way of the Snow Crystal Gallery maintained by Hiroyuki Yamada in the meteorological laboratory of the department of geophysics at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.

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