Notice the sun cup that formed to the left of the lake in this picture. The snowmelt in New Zealand causes the snow in the bowl to be insulated. Therefore, it does not melt as fast as the snow around the lake. There is a smaller sun cup pictured, too. Do you see it?

the ground is lower in that area, and because the snow serves as an insulator. Sun cups may also form as dirty snow melts away during windy conditions; snow particles accumulate on the crests of the ridge and insulate the snow in the bowl. Snow is comprised of about 95 percent trapped air. The air makes the snow an insulator, which is the reason animals hibernate by burrowing deep into the snow. The collared lemming is one such mammal, which has adapted to the Arctic by burrowing under the snow and creating a tunnel network of nesting areas. This lemming only lives in the Arctic tundra. During the winter, the animals move to areas of heavy snow. During the summer, they live in the high tundra areas and eat summer grasses. Humans have used this same


The Inside Scoop on Snow

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