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Question:
WHERE DOES THE WHITE GO WHEN THE SNOW MELTS ?



Replies:
That is an interesting question. What is snow made of? Water, right? Except it is water frozen in a special way, by accretion of little bits as the snowflake drops through the atmosphere, so that snow is pretty random stuff, compared to ice which is also frozen water, but which has all the water molecules nicely lined up which makes it transparent. The randomness of snow means that when light strikes the snow it gets scattered in all directions, and all colors are jumbled up, so when you look at snow all you see is the jumble, which shows up as white light. When it melts, it just turns into water (and usually disappears into the ground) which does not have the kind of randomness snow has at the level of the wavelengths of visible light. (Visible light has wavelengths much longer than the size of molecules). So, the "white" did not really exist on its own - it was a property of the arrangement of the water molecules in snow, and disappears as soon as that arrangement is changed.

Arthur Smith



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