Filmed by YouTuber Armand9x, this footage shows a snowflake melting in reverse, so you can get an idea of what it would look like forming in a puddle on the ground. It's beautiful and simple - just a pretty moment in time to enjoy during the craziness of the silly (ie: stressful) season.
It's something you'll never actually see in real life, so it's fun to watch it in this footage. In reality, snowflakes form up in the atmosphere when a piece of dust or pollen comes into contact with extremely cold water to create an ice crystal. As this crystal falls to the ground, water vapour starts freezing onto it, which forms the six intricate arms of what will end up being a snowflake.
"These ice crystals that make up snowflakes are symmetrical (or patterned) because they reflect the internal order of the crystal’s water molecules as they arrange themselves in predetermined spaces (known as “crystallisation”) to form a six-sided snowflake," says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
"The intricate shape of a single arm of the snowflake is determined by the atmospheric conditions experienced by the entire ice crystal as it falls. A crystal might begin to grow arms in one manner, and then minutes or even seconds later, slight changes in the surrounding temperature or humidity causes the crystal to grow in another way," the NOAA continues. "Although the six-sided shape is always maintained, the ice crystal (and its six arms) may branch off in new directions. Because each arm experiences the same atmospheric conditions, the arms look identical."
Snowflakes come in many varieties, from the best-known star-shaped ‘stellar plates’, ‘sectored plates’ and ‘stellar dendrites’ - the latter of which you’ll most likely find hanging off a department store Christmas tree - to the less fancy ‘hollow column’ and ‘needle’ varieties, which look exactly like they sound. There are triangle shapes, rosettes, and pretty twelve-sided flower shapes too. And then there are capped column snowflakes, which if magnified 50,000 times, look like some kind of alien virus.
Watch below to see another snowflake formation video that's just as mesmerising: