A 2010 article in National Geographic News explores the idea that no two snowflakes are alike. There are “10,000,000,000,000,000,000 [or 10+19] water molecules in a typical snow crystal,” and each one forms when a supercooled cloud droplet (roughly 10-05 meters in diameter) freezes. While it’s true that each snow crystal sparkles in its own unique way, Jon Nelson, a research scientist at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan, explains that in early stages of formation, snow crystals are little more than six-sided prisms—all of which look very similar to one another.
Nelson adds, however, that “…just because two underdeveloped snowflakes may look alike…don’t expect to find them. If you had a million snow crystals photographed for comparison and could compare two of them every second, ‘you’d be there for nearly a hundred thousand [10+05] years or so ,’ he said. ‘It’s a safe bet they won’t be discovered.’”