Anyone who takes a close look at snowflakes can see that they come in a variety of shapes. It is estimated that a single cubic meter of snow holds about 350 million snowflakes! These flakes are all hexagonal and have crystal-like structures. However, each one of them possesses a unique shape. For years, scientists have been searching for answers to such questions as how these shapes ever came about, how it is that each one of them has a different shape and what provides their symmetry. Every bit of information that is gained reveals another magnificent mastery present in the snowflakes. The variety and perfection of the hexagonal structure of snowflakes is a manifestation of Allah's status as the Originator (al-Badi). Allah is the One Who made good everything that He has created. The formation of snowflakes constitutes yet another aspect of Allah's endless artistry.
These thin, small flakes look like multi-pointed stars or tiny needle heads. The formation of the snowflakes in the pictures is truly amazing. For years, the orderly structure of snowflakes has caught people's attention. Since 1945, research has been carried out in a quest to discover which factors give the final shape to the crystals. A single snowflake is a pile of crystals consisting of more than 200 ice crystals. Snowflakes are made up of water molecules that are shaped in a perfect order. Snowflakes, one of nature's true architectural wonders, are shaped when water vapor gets cold while passing through clouds. This takes place like so:
Passing through the clouds, water molecules scattered everywhere in a disorganized way throughout water vapor begin to lose their random movement due to the fall in temperature. After a while, the water molecules, moving more slowly, begin to form groups and consequently become solid. Yet, there is no disorder whatsoever in their groupings. On the contrary, they always unite as microscopic hexagonal forms that look similar to each other. Each snowflake at first consists of a single hexagonal water molecule, then other hexagonal water molecules come and attach to this first piece. According to experts on the subject, the basic factor that determines the shape of a snowflake is that these hexagonal water molecules are joined together just like links in a chain. In addition, the pieces of crystals, which normally should look alike, take on very different shapes according to the temperature and level of moisture.(1)
Why is it that there is a hexagonal symmetry in all snowflakes and why is each of them different from the others? Why are their edges angled rather then straight? Scientists are still trying to find answers to these questions. Yet, this much is evident: Allah is the One Who has no partners in creation, is the Possessor of an endless power and the Originator of everything.
1- Roger Davey, David Stanley, "All about ice," New Scientist, September 6, 1993.