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Name: Kelsey J
Status: student
Age: 9
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2002

I would like to know how to make animal print molds in the snow? What can I use to do that? Thank you, Kelsey

Kelsey, I have never tried this, but if was going to, here is what I would do (no guarantees!). I would try to firm up the snow, so that I would not distort the track. To do this, I would mist the track very lightly with _cold_ water from a spray bottle and let it freeze, and repeat a few times as needed, so that you end up with a track that is more ice than snow. That would make it stronger for the next step. I believe forensic investigators use plaster of Paris (available in arts and crafts stores) to make molds of tire tracks (can anyone help here?). It seems you would want to mix up a batch that was not runny, but rather, a fairly firm mix. Maybe you could pack it gently into the icy track, get it to mold into the track, and then lift the whole thing up (maybe the icy track AND plaster) and take it indoors. Flip it over on a table, let the ice/snow melt away, and let the plaster warm up and harden. Heck, try it and see. Good luck, and let us know if it worked! (Maybe someone who has worked with plaster of Paris can tell us if it will harden at below freezing temperatures, in which case you could pack it into the icy track and let it harden right there.)

Paul Mahoney, PhD

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