Snow is more than white

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Beautiful white splendor or just that dangerously slippery stuff on streets and sidewalks? Everyone has their own opinion on snow. Today we have got a few fun facts and breathtaking pictures for you.

A flurry of seven Facts

1. Can you hear snow fall?

We could if our hearing could perceive frequencies between 50 and 200 kilohertz. When a snowflake hits water it emits precisely this high, shrill tone.

2. How fast does snow fall?

If snowflakes come down at an (estimated) one meter per second and the average cloud ceiling lies at 300 meters, the flake is underway for a couple of minutes before falling onto our heads. Influencing variables are the size and weight of the snowflake, the strength of the wind and the exact height from which it started.

3. Are all snow crystals the same?

Two snowflakes of identical appearance have not yet been found. The two snow researchers Bentley and Humphreys counted over 6,000 different crystal shapes in 1962.

4. Are there records for snow?

Yes, there are! For instance, the town of Weiler, Germany, has the most snow in the world. At 29 meters, Mount Baker holds the record for fresh snow. The largest snowflake ever seen, by the way and according to the Guinness book, had a diameter of 38 centimeters.

5. Can a bobsled be built of snow?

You can marvel at this in St. Moritz. It has the only natural ice rink in the world. Already over 100 years old, the rink is newly constructed every year with 5,000 m³ powder snow and 4,000 m³ water.

6. Is snow sound insulating?

Yes and no. Subjectively we perceive sounds in a snowy landscape as quieter than in a summer landscape.

7. Why is snow white?

The ice crystals of which snow is made are actually transparent. Between the ice crystals and the air there is a boundary surface in which the light of the visible wave lengths is reflected and scattered – as of a certain number of crystals there is a «diffuse reflection» which gives us the impression of a white snow landscape. By the way, in high mountains and polar areas snow can also be reddish. This so-called blood snow results from algae or when red dust from desert areas gets mixed in.

© Iwona Erskine-Kellie from Vancouver, Canada – Snow Algae Textures, CC BY 2.0, Wiki

Snow drifts

Now that we have gone over the hard facts, we would like to introduce you to the beautiful snow art of © Simon Beck. Using only a compass, sticks and his snowshoes he runs wonderful and impressive works of art into the snow:

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