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Is it True That No Two Snowflakes are Alike?

Researchers are challenging the commonly held belief that no two snowflakes are the same. While this may be true for larger snowflakes, there probably are small snowflakes that are alike, experts say.

If you’re planning to go out and see for yourself, though, you’ll need to have a lot of time on your hands. Researchers say that if you compared 1 million snowflake pairs for just 1 second each, it would take you 100,000 years!

This Live Science article has a host of amazing snowflake facts, such as how snowflakes are formed, how many snowflakes fall each year and how they take on such unique shapes. Here are more highlights from the article:

  • The number of snow crystal shapes exceeds the estimated number of atoms in the known universe
  • Most snowflakes are less than one-half inch across, but they can range from as small as four-thousandths of an inch to as large as two inches
  • The number of snow crystals that fall worldwide each year is an estimated “1 followed by 24 zeros"
  • A cubic foot of snow can contain about 1 billion snowflakes

If you’re interested in snowflakes, in addition to reading the article below you can check out these amazing snowflake pictures.

LiveScience.com January 19, 2007