It's little known, but ice is technically a mineral because of its repeating arrangement of its hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Each of these unique snowflakes was grown and photographed in a custom-built ice chamber by Professor Kenneth Libbrecht at the California Institute of Technology. Billions of identical water molecules collect together to form a single snowflake. Each water molecule is comprised of just three atoms -- two Hydrogen and one Oxygen -- and they always bond the same exact way. Through self-assembly, a snowflake's simple ingredients create intricate and endlessly variable designs.
Photographs courtesy of Kenneth Libbrecht at the California Institute of Technology.