Snow way! How could something so pretty cause so much hassle?

Snow. Some love it, some hate it. And, some have never seen it. And today, I'm going to tell you something about it that you probably didn't know.

Advertisement

So, that rules out the fact that it's heavy and cold. And it makes driving a pain. And it reduces visibility. And it's versatile.

Like, did you know that, if you're stuck outside in freezing weather, snow will keep you alive? it may seen counter intuitive, but, if you're stuck outside, and the temp is so low an ant couldn't limbo under it, and the wind chill is sucking the life out of you, if you burrow into the show, you'll actually stay warm? It's true. I've built myself many snow forts. Mind you, these were all hollowed out mounds of snow, so they weren't as warm as digging down into the snow would be.

The way it works is, snow is a fantastic insulator. If you build a shelter out of snow, your body heat will warm up the interior, and help keep you warm. The bigger the cavity, the harder it is to warm the space, but, I've built forts big enough for 4 adults to sit in, and using only 1 can of Sterno, been able to get it into the 50's inside while the outside is below zero.

Advertisement

Also, if you are stuck in the snow, and you built your shelter to stay warm, but worked up a thirst, DON'T eat the snow. If you need a drink, melt the snow in your hand first. Eating snow won't slake your thirst as well, and it can cause internal body temps to drop. And, you don't want your core body temp to go down. Trust me.

Anyway, that's all interesting, but not what I wanted to tell you about snow.

What is snow? Frozen water, right? Yes and no. We generally call frozen water, ice. Snow is frozen water molecules. So, while they are both frozen water, ice is when water freezes in a large amount, while snow is individually frozen water molecules.

But snow is also something else. And this is what's interesting.

Snow is a mineral.

Bet you didn't know that, did you? When we think of minerals, we generally think of things like, iron, or gold, or sulfur or some other, well, mineral.

But, what is a mineral? A mineral is: "a naturally occurring homogeneous solid, inorganically formed, with a definite chemical composition and an ordered atomic arrangement." And, by that definition, snow is a mineral. In fact, a lot of things we don't normally consider to be minerals are also minerals. Like, salt, or diamonds, or rubies.

In the English speaking world, we define everything as either Animal, Vegetable or Mineral. (animal = it's alive, vegetable = it grows, mineral = isn't alive, doesn't grow and comes from the ground) The definition has been refined a bit to be a little more precise, but if you use the animal, vegetable, mineral criteria to determine what something is, you'll be right way more often than you're wrong.

So, snow is a mineral. That's just one of those simple facts that, makes sense once you know it, but who would ever have thought about it in the first place, right?