What volume of snow yields one gallon of water?

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Anonymous, Windows Live's Hotmail

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Choi Minzi, volume of snow

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Some snow is light and fluffy and makes terrible snow balls. Other kind of snow feels heavy and sort of mushy. This kind of snow packs well and makes excellent snowballs. The reason is that different weather conditions produce different kinds of snow with different water content. The more water content, the denser it is and higher water equivalent. You can easily measure it yourself by getting a can full of snow (don't pack it down too hard) and take it inside the house. After the snow melts measure the height of the water left in the can and compare it to the height of the can. This is the water equivalent. A ratio of 1 to 10 is typical but can vary by a factor of two either way.

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Brian Monetti, Science is Awesome!

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The density of snow varies greatly depending on many factors, including how fresh it is, how wet it is, and how quickly it falls. Very light powdery snow can be as little as 5% as dense as water, but very dense hard pack (like the packed base on a ski slope) can be as much as 80% as dense as water. This chart compares the densities of several types of snow: http://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/Contexts/Icy-Ecosystems/Looking-closer/Snow-and-ice-density

You can even test this yourself! Fill up a container such as a measuring cup with snow, and let it melt inside. You can then measure the leftover water to see how dense the original snow was. Have fun!

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