Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Has a Snowflake Ever Met its Match?

December 11, 2015

Snow Gauge | UncommonGoods

You may have heard the conventional wisdom that no two snowflakes are alike—the mind-boggling notion that every single one of the billions of snowflakes that fall on the earth each year is, well, special. While this observation is essentially true, the devil’s in the tiny, crystalline details. Basically, there’s nothing in the natural laws that govern the formation of these little beauties that says they have to be one-of-a-kind. They’re all made of water molecules that crystallize in the atmosphere with a characteristic hexagonal geometry. In 1988, Nancy Knight, a researcher for the National Center for Atmospheric Research, reported finding two flakes of the hollow column type captured from a Wisconsin snowstorm that were a visual match. The thing is, even that extremely rare pair was different on the atomic level. In other words, while it’s possible for two flakes to have an identical arrangement of water molecules, it’s not exactly probable, and ultimately impossible to verify. So if the notion of special snowflakes is frozen in your mind, you should just let it go…

Snow Gauge | $80

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