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snow.jpg Understanding Snow

Snow is ice crystals formed around dust or other particles in the atmosphere. "Crystal" origins from the Greek word krystallos which means 'ice', 'crystal'.

All snow crystals have six sides, but each individual snowflake has a unique pattern.

Snow is actually transparent (you can look through it)...It is
the many sides of its crystals that makes it appear white!

Even though no two snowflakes are the same, you can still categorize them in types of crystals. The most frequent snow crystals are needles, column, plate, column capped with plates, dendrite and star. The types depend on the humidity and temperature when they are forming.

It can take up to 2 hours for a snowflake to reach ground. Even the heaviest snowflake falls at only one mile per hour. About 23 % of the Earth’s surface is permanently or temporarily covered with snow.


Snow flakes


Although you think of the Arctic as a place where it snows a lot, it actually receives relatively little snow. In fact, in one year, more snow falls on the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Africa, than falls on many parts of the Arctic. Much of the American Arctic receives only 40 inches (100 cm) of fresh snow a year with the greatest amount between 66 1/2 and 75 inches falling on northern Labrador and on the eastern coast of Baffin Island. These numbers are only approximate numbers, because it is very difficult to measure the snowfall due to strong winds that drive the snow.

But the snow that falls in these areas has the tendency to remain for some time. Some parts of the Arctic has snow all year round, other places are covered with snow for between 7 to 10 months a year.


The culture of many northern people has been influenced by snow especially the Inuit. This is why they have so many different words describing snow - how it falls, how it appears on the ground, and its different textures...



  Karakartanaq - crusty snow that breaks under foot
  Qannialaag - light falling snow
  Pukaangajuq - best snow for building an igloo
  Anniu - falling snow
  Api - ground snow
  Qali - snow on the boughs of trees
  Qamaniq - bowl like depression under tree
  Siqoqtoaq - sun crust
  Siqoq - smoky (drifting snow)
  Anamana - space between drifts and obstruction
  Upsik - wind-beaten snow
  Mapsuk - overhanging drift
  Kaioglaq - sharply etched wind-eroded surface
  Tumarinyiq - ripple type drift
  Kalutoganiq - arrow shaped snow drift
  Kimoaqtruk - snow drift
  Pukak - bottom snow layer (depth hoar)
  Salumaroaq - smooth surface of fine particles
  Natatgonaq - rough surface of large particles
  Quinzhee - snow shelter  


Does it make sense to you that the Inuit have so many words describing snow!? Can you think of anything in your part of the world that has many names depending on its form!? Do you have a lot of snow where you live??

If not, maybe you should GROW SOME SNOW!!!!


Yes, you can grow your own snowflake in a jar --

check out the details at the coolest possible site:  snow by the Tele family
with lots of fun stuff like this snow growing, snow crystal building and much more!

Borax by the Tele Family


Growing Snow>


To learn ALL there is to know about snow crystals and snow flakes in DETAIL (and it is a lot) visit "Snow Crystals" 


Once you have been there (or maybe even before) here are 5 tough ones...



Is it ever too cold to snow? Answer


How big can snowflakes get? Answer


Why is snow white? Answer


What causes the blue color that sometimes appears in snow and ice? Answer


How much snow falls where I live? Answer

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