Maple Leaf Snow

How fun to find a snowflake resembling a maple leaf! I think there is an interesting history to this snowflake, and a lot can be said about how it’s shape came to be. This snowflake broke into two pieces while forming, and this half continued to grow and “repair” itself.

Snowflakes that grow as a “split crystal” are often very fragile around the connecting center column that holds them together. A mid-air collision may have been the cause for this one to break apart, allowing an odd three-branched snowflake to continue growing (presumably two of them, wherever it’s “partner” ended up).

With the bottom part of the crystal gone, the nearby sidebranches are exposed to much more water vapour, allowing them to grow more rapidly than usual. This is why the crystal began to fill in the missing space – more water could be collected and added to the crystal in this area.

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