Snow is really nothing more than frozen water. Then why doesn’t it look like ice? There are a large number of ice crystals in each snow8ake, and the reflection of light from all the surfaces of the crystals makes it look white.
Snow begins to be formed when water vapor in the atmosphere freezes. Tiny crystals are formed that arc clear and transparent. Since there are currents in the air, these tiny crystals are carried up and down in the atmosphere. They fall and rise as different air currents move them along.
While this is happening, the crystals together around a nucleus, so that in time there may be a hundred or more gathered together. When this group of ice crystals is big enough, it floats down towards the ground. We call a collection of ice crystals a “snowflake”.
Some crystals are 8at and some are like a column of needles. But regardless of the shape, snow crystals always have six sides or angles. The branches of any single snowflake are always identical, but the arrangement of the branches is different in every case. No two snowflakes are ever exactly alike.
Did you know that snow is not always white? In many parts of the world red, green, blue, and even black snow has been seen! The reason for the different colors is that sometimes there are tiny fungi in the air, or dust is floating about, and this is collected by the snow as it falls. Because snow contains so much air, it is a poor conductor of heat.
That is why a “blanket” of snow can protect dormant vegetation in the ground and why igloos and snow huts can be made of blocks of snow and keep people inside quite warm.
What Is Snow Made Of?
Snow is composed of frozen water crystals, but because there is so much air surrounding each of those tiny crystals in the snowpack, most of the total volume of a snow layer is made up of air.