The natural environment is an incredible system, no matter how it is perceived. Amongst its many amazing shapes and forms, snowflakes are one of the most enchanting ones. Snow cover, even the thickest one, is comprised of millions upon millions of these individual flakes. From childhood, everyone is taught that each and every snowflake is one of a kind. But, somehow, for many individuals, this idea is hard to grasp. These people often wonder a very obvious thing: Is every snowflake truly unique? How do we know?
There is no doubt that each snowflake is a marvelous construction, created from spires that radiate from its center. They might be tiny in size, but they are still intricate and complex to a point that they almost look man-made. Visually, they all somewhat look alike, but when each is examined, the issue whether each snowflake is truly unique becomes a matter of semantics. That is why meteorologists move this question to the domain of how anyone defines a snowflake. As an individual, vapor-grown crystal of ice, there is a lot of scientific containing that all crystals are unique on a purely molecular level because of the different atomic structure of all individual water molecules. Because distinct water molecules go into the structure of any snowflake, the basic logic dictates that no two crystals could be exactly the same. But, when the issue is converted to the domain of visual recognition, the problem becomes more complex.
Even though individually different molecules of water are involved, some structures and shapes of snowflakes seem very similar. Here, both shape and structure are defined by the conditions in the cloud in which they are formed. Snowflakes begin as individually frozen crystals of water and begin to pile together on a basic hexagonal plate. But, as they start to descend to the ground, their structure and shape begin to grow and change. With less vapor concentration, the snowflakes will be less intricate. On the other hand, the famous shapes that look like lace come into existence in the higher concentrations of vapor and at higher altitudes. This ends up as a lot of variations, but also some recurring patterns in the snowflake design. That is why some snowflakes share their overall design outline and the way how the ice crystals are slowly built around the base of the flake. But, the issue of observation still remains a problem. Because of this, the meteorologists cannot say that every snowflake is the same because they cannot seem them all. But, as the snowflake grows, it becomes more distinct and intricate. As a small structure, there is a lot more chance to find another one that looks very similar, if not identical to it.
Because of this, there is no guarantee that there is not a pair of identical snowflakes in the world, which is why people will continue to wonder is every snowflake truly unique? How do we know? But, speaking from a purely scientific standpoint, no two snowflakes, even those that seem identical from a visual standpoint, are the same. Instead, it can be said that just like any other object in existence, each snowflake really is unique.
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