Is it true that no two snowflakes are exactly the same?

The science behind snowflake formation is remarkably complex, but that's no surprise given it is estimated there are 1018 water molecules in one.

6th January 2014
Is it true that no two snowflakes are exactly the same? © Getty

Most likely, yes. The science behind snowflake formation is remarkably complex. Scientists are uncertain as to why ice crystals take different shapes at different temperatures, and the influence of humidity is also a grey area. It is believed, however, that the old saying ‘no two snowflakes are alike’ is true for fully formed snowflakes. It is estimated that there are 1018 water molecules in a snowflake, and these can arrange themselves in an almost infinite number of ways. Nobody can say for certain that there are no matching pairs, but with odds like that it is probably a safe bet.

 


SFQASubscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun facts.

You are currently reading: Is it true that no two snowflakes are exactly the same? - 6th January