Snowflake Diversity


Using a high-speed digital camera system, researchers captured 3-D pictures of falling snowflakes on the slopes of Alta, Utah:

Traditional snowflake photography tends to focus on particular types of crystals that lie flat on a microscope slide, “where a camera can get them perfectly in focus, and the photographer can take the time to get the light exactly right,” Garrett said.

“These perfectly symmetric, six-sided snowflakes, while beautiful, are exceedingly rare — perhaps one-in-a-thousand at the most. Snow is almost never a single, simple crystal. Rather, a snowflake might experience riming, where perhaps millions of water droplets collide with a snowflake and freeze on its surface. This makes a little ice pellet known as graupel. Or snowflakes collide with other snowflakes to make something fluffier, called an aggregate. And everything is possible in between.”

Gallery here.