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Ice is an Oxide class mineral that is referred to by any one of the 14 known solid phases of water. However, in non-scientific contexts, it usually describes ice Ih, which is the most abundant of these phases in Earth's biosphere. This type of ice is a soft, delicate, crystalline solid, which can appear transparent or an opaque bluish-white color depending on the presence of impurities such as air.
The addition of other materials such as soil may further alter appearance. The most common phase transition to ice Ih occurs when liquid water is cooled below 0 °C (273.15 K, 32 °F) at standard atmospheric pressure. However, it can also deposit from a vapor with no intervening liquid phase such as in the formation of frost. Ice appears in varied forms such as hail, ice cubes, and glaciers. It plays an important role with many meteorological phenomena. The ice caps of the polar regions are of significance for the global climate and particularly the water cycle.
An unusual feature of ice frozen at a pressure of one atmosphere is that the solid is some 8% less dense than liquid water. Water is also one of the few substances to expand when it freezes. Ice has a density of 0.917 g/cm? at 0 °C, whereas water has a density of 0.9998 g/cm? at the same temperature.
Liquid water is most dense, essentially 1.00 g/cm?, at 4 °C and becomes less dense as the water molecules begin to form the hexagonal crystals of ice as the temperature drops to 0 °C. (In fact, the word "crystal" derives from Greek word for frost.) This is due to hydrogen bonds forming between the water molecules, which line up molecules less ......
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