Picture stories

The Science of Snow

“I love hoarfrost. I think it’s one of the most beautiful things in the world,” said Aurora Clark, associate chemistry professor at Washington State University. Frost and snow crystals are influenced by the underlying hexagonal structure of water. Frost crystals form on a surface, which dictates what types of patterns emerge. Snow crystals, which form in clouds, grow more freely. Temperature and humidity also affect the shape of frost and snow crystals.

Related story: Snowflakes’ complexity delights scientists, photographers

Kathy Plonka - The Spokesman-Review

Fern frost forms on a car window at Hauser Lake on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. Window frost (also called fern frost or ice flowers) forms when a glass pane is exposed to very cold air on the outside and moderately moist air on the inside.

Kathy Plonka - The Spokesman-Review

Bird tracks form a pattern on the frozen surface of Liberty Lake on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.

Kathy Plonka - The Spokesman-Review

Rainy conditions at Schweitzer Mountain freezes snowflakes into position on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013.

Kathy Plonka - The Spokesman-Review

Initials were etched into the frozen pond at Falls Park in Post Falls on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013.

Kathy Plonka - The Spokesman-Review

The sun shines over the frozen surface of Liberty Lake on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2013.

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