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Sastrugi — snow dunes and holes shaped by the wind on our prairie. (Photo by Dan Wilcox)

Wild Side: Strange but familiar forms of water

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H2O is a quirky molecule. Among its unique characteristics are multiple phases; solid, liquid, gas with rapid phase changes during minor changes in temperature and pressure. Under certain conditions, water vapor condenses and freezes into hexagonal snowflakes with delicate fractal patterns. Water has lower density when frozen than when liquid. It releases heat when freezing and has multiple forms of ice.

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