Five Cool Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Snow
Winter is still with us, and here’s some fascinating facts you may not have known about the white stuff falling from the sky. Yes, snow might seem pretty straightforward, but there’s actually a lot more to these flakes than meets the eye.
1. Snow is a mineral
Each snowflake is unique, but because they’re inorganic, solid, and occur naturally, they’re all classed as minerals – the same category as diamonds and other precious stones. Granted, you probably won’t be putting them on a ring anytime soon.
2. The largest snow flake was the size of a Frisbee
The Guinness Book of World Records lists a snowflake discovered in January 1887 as the largest ever seen. It fell on a ranch at Fort Keogh, Montana and measured 15 inches (38 centimeters), the size of a Frisbee. That’s because when it’s at or just above freezing in the lower atmosphere snowflakes fuse together, forming a larger flake.
3. Snow can be orange, red, green, blue, or brown
Snow isn’t actually white at all, it just looks that way because of the way light reflects off it and individual snowflakes aren’t necessarily white either. They can seem blue, especially at a distance, but snowflakes in green, orange, red, brown, and purple have been recorded and is often called ‘watermelon snow‘ because of its colour and sweet taste (it’s not a good idea to eat it though).
4. The world’s tallest snowman was higher than most buildings
Olympia Snowe, a 122 foot high (37.2 meter) snowman built in Bethel, Maine. Named for a former senator, the snowman took a month to build. Skies were used for her eyelashes and her eyes are made of giant wreaths, red-painted tires make up her lips, and two 27 foot (8.2 meter) pine trees were used for her arms. She also weighed in at 13 million pounds (six million kilograms).
5. 34 truckloads of snow was needed for the world’s largest snowball fight
5,834 people took part in the largest ever recorded snowball fight which took place in Seattle in 2013. 34 truckloads carrying 162,000 pounds or 74,000 kilograms of snow were needed for the event and some people brought along their own snowball making machines in case that wasn’t enough.
Bonus fact: It snows on Mars’ equator but because of the temperature at ground level (70 °F/21 °C), the flakes never reach the surface but at chest level, the temperature is 32 °F/0 °C meaning it could snow on your head and shoulders, just not your feet. Snow does reach the ground at the Red Planet’s poles.