When you think about snow ... wait, do you ever really think about snow? It's pretty when it first falls before it gets all slushy and gross, but, like, why is it all light and fluffy instead of just frozen raindrops?? Check out this video to learn seven facts about snow that you probably never knew.
For example, did you know that each snowflake always has six sides and -- contrary to what almost everyone has been taught about snow since day one -- they isn't a ton of variation between them. So calling someone "as unique as a snowflake" isn't really a compliment (unless you mean to say they're really boring and unoriginal).
As much as 95% of snow if really just air. As water freezes in the upper atmosphere, it follows a crystalline pattern, and air gets trapped between the crystal filaments. After it snows, that air in the snowflakes absorb sound waves, which is why it tends to be so silent after a big snowstorm leaves piles of it everywhere. In fact, this air is what makes snow such a surprisingly good insulator, which is why igloos and snow caves can be a surprisingly warm oasis in the middle of a cold, snowy field.
So how to you make the perfect snowball? What causes avalanches and why are they so unpredictable? How fast does a snowflake fall, and how many hit the ground when it's snowing? You'll have to watch the video to learn the surprising answers to these snow-related questions.
But until then, what is your favorite thing to do in the snow? Do you love it as much as you did when you were a kid or do you just find it to be a nuisance these days? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.
10 Things You May Not Know About Snow (via Unofficial Networks)
"Each year an average of 105 snow-producing storms affect the continental United States."
20 Things You Didn't Know About...Snow (Discover Magazine)
"You might as well understand the stuff that could soon paralyze your car."
Avalanches Explained: How People Trigger Disasters (via National Geographic)
"Cartoon avalanches start with a snowball merrily rolling downhill, picking up more snow as it travels. That's not how it really works, say avalanche experts, which explains the deadly results of recent avalanches that caught hikers off guard in Nepal."
How to make the perfect snowball
(via The Guardian)
"Light powder snow is the driest kind, containing lots of air. This snow makes for terrible snowballs because it won't pack – and it won't pack because of its low moisture content."
The Physics of Snow (via starry Skies)
"Mother Nature isn't giving us much choice in the matter of thinking about snow."