Chapter 8: Implications for Everyday Systems

Section 2: The Growth of Crystals

Identical snowflakes

The widespread claim that no two snowflakes are alike is not in practice true. It is however the case that as a result of turbulent air currents a collection of snowflakes that fall to the ground in a particular region will often have come from very different regions of a cloud, and therefore will have grown in different environments. Note that the reason that the six arms of a single snowflake usually look the same is that all of them have grown in essentially the same environment. Deviations are usually the result of collisions between falling snowflakes.

From Stephen Wolfram: A New Kind of Science [citation]