• Myths About Snow

3 Biggest Snow Myths That Will Surprise You

No two snowflakes are the same

First of all, it’s a myth that no two snowflakes are the same. In 1988, a scientist found two identical snow crystals that had both formed in a snow storm in Wisconsin, USA.

Since then scientists have come to learn that snowflakes can only form into 35 different shapes. Although scientists are also unsure why exactly the various shapes of snowflake form, they have identified eight predominant shapes, with each of these eight shapes having several different variations.

Snow is white

Second biggest myth, snow isn’t white. It’s actually colorless. Snow is made up of ice particles, and ice is translucent, which means that light does not pass through it easily, but rather it gets reflected (this is the opposite of glass, which is transparent and immensely see-through).

When light hits a snowflake, it gets reflected back from the snowflake’s many surfaces, often bouncing between these surfaces, and because of this that light is reflected back to our eyes as the color white. This is why, up close or magnified, a snowflake always looks clear, yet in reality appears as white.

Snow always looks white

Lastly, snow doesn’t always appear to us as the color white. Not counting the infamous yellow snow that everyone knows never to eat, you can also get naturally blue snow or even pink snow.

Deep snow can sometimes appear blue in color because the extra layers of snow create a filter for light, which causes more red light to be absorbed by the snow than blue light, meaning that it looks blue.

Take a look at the photo from St. Petersburg in Russia.

Blue Snow - Russia

 

Likewise, snow can sometimes appear pink in mountainous regions or coastal Polar Regions due to it containing cryophilic fresh-water algae that have a red pigment in them.

Take a look at the photo of some pink snow from Petermann Island in Antarctica.

Pink Snow - Antartica

 

As an interesting bonus fact, the fur of Polar Bears is actually made up of translucent fibers, trapping light between its many surfaces and making the Polar Bear look white, when in actuality if you were to examine a single piece of Polar Bear fur up close it would look clear – just like a snowflake.

It’s also a commonly known fact that, if shaved, a Polar Bear would be black in color. The reason a Polar Bear’s skin is black is because black is the color which locks in the most heat, meaning the Polar Bears is not only perfectly camouflaged but also incredibly thermally insulated.

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2018-12-03T16:38:16+00:00

About the Author

Jack Leith-De Graaf
Jack Leith-De Graaf is a BA English Studies graduate and a part-time writer. In his spare time he likes to read and do circus skills. He enjoys writing about video games, television and general knowledge.

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