Bentley Hexagonal Plate Crystal

December 25, 2009


Provided by: The Schwerdtfeger Library
Summary Author: Jim Foster

December 2009 Earth Science Picture of the Day Viewer's Choice

The photo above showing a lovely example of a hexagonal plate snow crystal was made nearly a century ago by Wilson Bentley (1865-1931). These crystals often show amazing symmetry. If no two snow crystals appear alike it’s because their histories are different. Each crystal falls through a minutely different slice of atmosphere, thus the temperature and moisture conditions in which they form are also ever so slightly different. This photo (micrograph) is but one of several thousand taken by Bentley -- all prepared on glass lantern slides at his outdoor laboratory, near his home in Jericho, Vermont. To see more of his remarkable crystals visit the Schwerdtfeger Library (Bentley Collection).


Stacy Bowles, Stu Witmer, Martin Ruzek, and Jim Foster