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A snowball is a spherical object made from snow, usually created by scooping snow with the hands, and compacting it into a roughly fist-sized ball. The snowball is often used to engage in games, such as snowball fights. Snowball fights are usually light-hearted and involve throwing snowballs at one's friends or family. The pressure exerted by the hands on the snow is a determinant for the final result. Reduced pressure leads to a light and soft snowball. A higher pressure causes the snow to melt,[citation needed] turning into liquid water. Once the pressure is removed, the water turns again into ice,[citation needed] leading to a more compact and hard snowball called an iceball, which eventually can be considered harmful during a snowball fight. The process of melting and refreezing is called regelation.[citation needed]

A snowball may also be a large ball of snow formed by rolling a smaller snowball on a snow-covered surface. The smaller snowball grows by picking up additional snow as it rolls. The terms "snowball effect" and "snowballing" are named after this process. This technique is often used to create snowmen.

There are some temperature/humidity ranges that prohibit or restrict the formulation of a snowball. With a powdery snow, snowballs are difficult to form. In temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F), there is little free water in the snow, which leads to crumbly snowballs. At 0 °C (32 °F) or above, melted water in the snow results in a better cohesion. If you're walking on snow and it squeaks, chances are the temperature/humidity level won't form a snowball, because squeaking means that the snow is dry.

Self rolling snowballs

Under certain, rarely occurring circumstances, self rolling snowballs form on their own.[1]

See also


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