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A Guide to Snowflakes / Nature
... A look at the different types of falling snow ...
If you look closely at falling snow, you can see a great many different crystal shapes. There's a lot more to see than you might think!
Here are many distinctive types of snowflakes. Now you can have a more detailed look on them.
A hexagonal prism is the most basic snow crystal geometry. Depending on how fast the different facets grow, snow crystal prisms can appear as thin hexagonal plates, slender hexagonal columns (shaped a lot like wooden pencils), or anything in between. Simple prisms are usually so small they can barely be seen with the naked eye.
The examples show two stubby prisms and one thin plate. Snow crystal facets are rarely perfectly flat, being more typically decorated with various indents, ridges, or other features.
Stellar plates often show distinctive ridges that point to the corners between adjacent prism facets. When these ridges are especially prominent, the crystals are called sectored plates.
The simplest sectored plates are hexagonal crystals that are divided into six equal pieces, like the slices of a hexagonal pie. More complex specimens show prominent ridges on broad, flat branches.
These common snowflakes are thin, plate-like crystals with six broad arms that form a star-like shape. Their faces are often decorated with amazingly elaborate and symmetrical markings.
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