An overview of seasonal snow metamorphism


  • S. C. Colbeck


The grains in seasonal snow undergo rapid and radical transformations in size, shape, and cohesion. These grain characteristics affect all of the basic properties of snow. Snow is characterized as either wet or dry depending on the presence of liquid water. Wet snow is markedly different at low and high liquid contents. Dry snow is characterized as either an equilibrium form or a kinetic growth form; that is, it is either well rounded or faceted. Of course, many snow grains display either transitional features between two of these categories or features which arise from other processes. Snow is classified depending on the dominant processes of its metamorphism.