Why Does Snow Make Crunchy Sounds When You Walk On It?
I know this might be one of the most bizarre questions someone will ask you: Why does the snow make crunchy, or squeaky sounds, when you walk on it when it's super cold?
This question has puzzled me while the weather has been so frigid in Central New York. I must have skipped this day of Meteorology class in High School, or honestly just don't remember. But are you in the same boat? Why in the world does the snow make these sounds during the winter?
First off, a little science from Why Files: Snow is a mixture of ice crystals, liquid water and air. So honestly the sound it makes when you walk on it depends on the temperature, and the mixture of snow:
When you walk on snow, your boots apply pressure that can break its ice crystals. When the snow is warmer than about minus 35 degrees F, its ice crystals are surrounded by a film of liquid water that lubricates them so they can slide past one another without breaking.
The more water around the crystals, the less likely the breakage, so if the snow is colder than 14 degrees F, your boot will crush the ice crystals, making that squeaking, or creaking, sound. Snow above approximately 14 degrees F contains enough liquid water for the crystals to “flow” silently under your boot."
The crunchy sound is made by cold, packed snow. When it's warmer, you don't hear this sound. That's why you don't hear it when it's fluffy snow. MIND BLOWN. To quote Patrick Star from Spongebob, "gasp."