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What’s the difference between ice and snow?

We usually tend to believe that ice and snow are one and the same thing but as matter of fact there are differences between the two. Even though both ice and snow are products of water, the process of formation for each of them is entirely different. Lets look at some of the facts which differentiate these two H20 products.


  • Snow is formed when the atmospheric water vapor freezes into ice crystals which usually happens when the temperature is below freezing point and there is moisture in the air.
  • Snow originates in the cloud and turns into snowflakes when the ice crystals collide with each other and stick together. This process is only possible when temperature is -31 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When the snowflakes become large enough, they can sometime fall at areas of high altitudes in the form of crystals. This is known as snowfall.
  • The process of snow formation involves direct conversion of water vapor into ice crystals without passing through the liquid state.
  • Snowflakes can fall in no. of shapes like rods, prism, plates , needles and stars.



  • Ice is formed when the liquid water is frozen at freezing temperature. This freezing temperature turns the liquid water into solid form known as frozen ice.
  • The formation of ice can be termed as solidification from liquid water.
  • Ice originates on the ground and can be seen in any season. It just needs freezing temperature to convert liquid water into solid form.
  • Ice is less dense than water because of which it floats on the water. This dense nature of ice is due to the covalent bonding among oxygen and hydrogen atoms.
  • Ice is usually transparent , we can see through the ice ball.
  • The amount of ice formed depends on the total amount of water available for freezing.
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