Snow is a major part of Winter for many people around the world. Whether you hate driving when it snows or enjoy curling up by the fire, snow is part of mother nature and something we cannot control. Some people spend thousands to travel around the world and experience it in real-life. There are many interesting things about this white stuff. For instance, did you know that two-thirds of the population has never seen snow? Here, we have collected some interesting facts about snow that might surprise you.
1. There’s a park in Austria called Grüner See, or Green Lake, that turns into a lake every summer.
The intriguing phenomena occurs in the town of Tragoess, Austria. When the temperature rises and falls, the lake disappears and reappears throughout the year. Every year during Winter, snow gathers at the basin and as Spring approaches, it starts to melt and converts the park into a lake with shimmering emerald waters.
During Spring, Instagrammers and scuba-drivers gather like flies to enjoy and capture this beautiful scene. Benches, trails, and trees are completely submerged in crystal-clear snowmelt, which makes Grüner See a must see place at least once in your life. (source)
2. Every year, the Japanese city of Toyama gets so much snowfall during Winter that the highways become snow tunnels. When paths are finally cleared in March, the tunnels have walls as high as 66 feet.
The Tateyam, in Japan’s Hida Mountains, is one of the three holy mountains, as well as one of the snowiest mountains in Japan and the snowiest mountain on Earth. The mountain receives as much as 1,500 inches of snow a year. To put things into perspective, that’s as high as the Statue of Liberty. Route 6 begins from the city of Toyama, disappears into a tunnel and emerges on the other side in Nagano Prefecture.
Before entering the tunnel, travelers have to pass through a snow wall that can reach a staggering 66 feet. Syracuse, New York, is often dubbed the snowiest city in the United States, since it receives on average, 117 inches of snow a year. Toyama, Japan, sometimes receives 20 to 30 centimeters of snowfall in just one night. (source)
3. Syracuse, New York, tried to make snow illegal.
The 1991-1992 snow season was particularly bad for Syracuse, New York. America’s snowiest major city received more than 162 inches of snow during that season and the people were not happy about it. In order to control the white stuff from making road trips hard, in March of 1992, the city’s Common Council passed a decree that any more snow before Christmas Eve was illegal. Mother nature however, missed the memo, since it snowed just two days later and the following Winter brought more snow than the previous year. (source)
4. Contrary to the popular belief, some snowflakes are the same.
It’s a popular myth that no two snowflakes are ever the same. In 1988, a scientist performed a study and proved it wrong. Nancy Knight, a scientist at the National Center for Atmosphere Research in Colorado, studied snowflakes under a microscope and found two identical snowflakes that came from a storm out of Wisconsin. (source)
5. Yellow snow isn’t the only kind you shouldn’t eat. Studies show that all snow can be harmful, since it acts like a magnet and attracts particles from car exhaust fumes.
You have probably heard at least once in your life that you should never eat “yellow” snow. However, a new study published in the journal Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, suggests that you shouldn’t actually eat any snow at all. The study found that snow acts as a magnet for tiny particles that are found primarily in car exhaust fumes. So basically, every time you are eating snow, you are eating a pollution-flavored popsicle. (source)
6. The reason why it seems so quiet after a snowfall is because fresh snow absorbs sound waves.
Snow is basically an accumulation of packed ice crystals, which play a major role on how sound waves travel. In some cases, they can dampen or enhance them but it all depends on the characteristics of the snow. For instance, people often notice how sound changes after a fresh snowfall. After a fresh layer of snow, sound waves are readily absorbed at the snow surface, and this is why it feels as if it has become extremely quiet after a snowfall. If the surface melts and refreezes, the snow becomes smooth and hard. In such cases, sound waves are reflected and can travel very long distances. (source)
7. Snow is translucent, not white.
Although it appears white, snow is in fact colorless. It’s translucent, which means that light does not pass through it easily, but is rather reflected. The light reflected from each individual snow flake is what gives its white appearance. The reason we see specific colors with each object is because some wavelengths of light are absorbed while others are reflected. The sky is blue because the blue wavelengths are reflected while the other colors are absorbed. In the case of snow, no wavelength is absorbed or reflected with any consistency; giving the impression that it’s white. (source)
8. Igloos can be more than 100 degrees warmer inside than outside.
Igloos are an efficient way of staying warm if you’re ever stranded in the middle of nowhere. The most interesting fact about igloos is that they can be warmed entirely by body heat. Since fresh, compacted snow is approximately 90 to 95 percent trapped air, it works as an insulator. This is why bears and other animals dig holes in the snow to hibernate for the Winter. (source)
9. Colorado holds the record for the most snow to fall in a 24-hour period.
Back in 1921, Silver Lake, Colorado, received 75.8 inches of snow in a 24-hour period. The USA also averages 105 snow producing storms per year. with a typical storm lasting anywhere between 2-5 days. Between 1960 and 1994, there were about nine blizzards per year. Since 1995, however, the average increased to 19 a year. Researchers believe this could be related to low sunspot activity. (source)
10. Snowflakes always have six sides.
Scientists studying snow found that all snowflakes have one thing in common. The water molecules that snowflakes are made of can only fit together in a way that results in a six-sided ice crystal. So, next time you see a Christmas ornament with more than six sides, don’t buy it. (source)