What Are Five Kinds of Snow Crystals?

Types of snow crystals include stellar dendrites, stellar plates, capped columns, needles and triangular crystals, each of which only form under specific conditions. Stellar plates are one of the most common types of snow crystal, and can form at either 28 or 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stellar dendrites are one of the more famous types of snow crystals, and are the type usually seen in holiday decorations. The word "dendrite" means "tree-like," and these crystals get their name from their branches and side branches. When the crystals become large enough to have many side branches, they are considered fern-like stellar dendrites, which is the largest type of snow crystal. Radiating dendrites can occur in certain conditions when extra dendrites form above or below the plate.

Capped columns are a very unique snow crystal that consist of two plates at each end of a short column. These crystals are usually very small and hard to see. On the other hand, needles can be seen quite easily and often resemble small white hairs when they land on clothing. Triangular crystals are generally quite rare, as they only form when the temperature is around 28 degrees Fahrenheit. These crystals can also sprout arms to become triangular stellar plate crystals.