Snowflakes are clusters of ice crystals that form around a piece of dust or sediment. You’ve probably heard that all snowflakes are unique and no two snowflakes are identical, and it’s true! Wilson Bentley was a meteorologist and photographer in the late 1800s and early 1900s who documented thousands of snowflakes with his camera. He never observed two snowflakes that were identical. There are several different types of snowflakes that form at different temperatures and humidity levels. The snowflakes we generally think of are dendrites, which have six sides and often have elaborate designs and details. These form at moderate temperatures (-5-15oF) and high humidity. There are several other types of snowflakes that are less elaborate, visible in this chart.
This blog is managed by the staff and volunteers of Galena Creek Visitor Center. We write about parts of the natural world that we find fascinating and want to teach others about, as well as keeping you updated on the Visitor Center and park. If you want to learn more, please sign up for our monthly newsletter, where we share upcoming events, updates on the ecology of the park, and highlights from each month.