How Snowflakes Are Made, A Minimalist Video

We’ve hardly seen a single flake flutter its way down to New York City since Nor’easter. Boo. So, while you enjoy sunny 50 degree December weather, the American Chemical Society and Bitesize Science would like to give you a crash course in how snowflakes are made, in case we never see one ever again.

The minimalist two minute short describes each step of snowflake creation. The complex structure is made of ice, nature’s simplest hydrogen bonded crystal. It all starts with a dust grain floating in a cloud which bonds with the water vapor in the air resulting in a droplet that turns into ice. Crystal faces consequently appear on the frozen droplet forming prism shapes with six faces. It’s all followed by a cavity formation in each prism face, because ice grows fastest near the edges. The shapes eventually evolve depending on the surrounding temperature. However most of the flakes remain hexagonal because that’s how the water molecules tend to bond chemically. Hello? Anybody there? Yeah, the video is probably a much more exciting way to learn about snowflakes than reading this. Watch the video.