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Name: Joe D.
Status: student
Age: 14
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2001

What is the length of time it takes for a snowflake to fall to the ground from 1,000 feet?


The answer depends on how fast the wind is blowing at the heights through which the flake falls, the weight of the flake, and the shape of the flake.

However, for let's say an average flake with no wind, the fall velocity is about 2 feet per second (my recollection of what I have observed), it would take 500 seconds (a little over 8 minutes) to fall to the ground.

You can make an estimate yourself this winter by timing snowflakes falling from you head to the ground, then taking an average, and knowing the distance from your head to the ground, estimate the fall time from 1,000 feet. Your Mom and Dad could probably help you with this exercise.

David R. Cook
Atmospheric Research Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory

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