Koch Rock

The Koch snowflake, named after the Swedish mathematician Helge von Koch, is a famous fractal that encloses a finite area within an infinitely long boundary. To make a ’flake, you start with an equilateral triangle:

Koch snowflake stage #1 (with room for manœuvre)


Next, you divide each side in three and erect a smaller equilateral triangle on the middle third, like this:

Koch snowflake #2


Each original straight side of the triangle is now 1/3 longer, so the full perimeter has also increased by 1/3. In other words, perimeter = perimeter * 1⅓. If the perimeter of the equilateral triangle was 3, the perimeter of the nascent Koch snowflake is 4 = 3 * 1⅓. The area of the original triangle also increases by 1/3, because each new equalitarian triangle is 1/9 the size of the original and there are three of them: 1/9 * 3 = 1/3.

Now here’s stage 3 of the snowflake:

Koch snowflake #3, perimeter = 4 * 1⅓ = 5⅓


Again, each straight line on the perimeter has been divided in three and capped with a smaller equilateral triangle. This increases the length of each line by 1/3 and so increases the full perimeter by a third. 4 * 1⅓ = 5⅓. However, the area does not increase by 1/3. There are twelve straight lines in the new perimeter, so twelve new equilateral triangles are erected. However, because their sides are 1/9 as long as the original side of the triangle, they have 1/(9^2) = 1/81 the area of the original triangle. 1/81 * 12 = 4/27 = 0.148…

Koch snowflake #4, perimeter = 7.11


Koch snowflake #5, p = 9.48


Koch snowflake #6, p = 12.64


Koch snowflake #7, p = 16.85


Koch snowflake (animated)


The perimeter of the triangle increases by 1⅓ each time, while the area reaches a fixed limit. And that’s how the Koch snowflake contains a finite area within an infinite boundary. But the Koch snowflake isn’t confined to itself, as it were. In “Dissecting the Diamond”, I described how dissecting and discarding parts of a certain kind of diamond could generate one side of a Koch snowflake. But now I realize that Koch snowflakes are everywhere in the diamond — it’s a Koch rock. To see how, let’s start with the full diamond. It can be divided, or dissected, into five smaller versions of itself:

Dissectable diamond


When the diamond is dissected and three of the sub-diamonds are discarded, two sub-diamonds remain. Let’s call them sub-diamonds 1 and 2. When this dissection-and-discarding is repeated again and again, a familiar shape begins to appear:

Koch rock stage 1


Koch rock #2


Koch rock #3


Koch rock #4


Koch rock #5


Koch rock #6


Koch rock #7


Koch rock #8


Koch rock #9


Koch rock #10


Koch rock #11


Koch rock #12


Koch rock #13


Koch rock (animated)


Dissecting and discarding the diamond creates one side of a Koch triangle. Now see what happens when discarding is delayed and sub-diamonds 1 and 2 are allowed to appear in other parts of the diamond. Here again is the dissectable diamond:

Dia-flake stage 1


If no sub-diamonds are discarded after dissection, the full diamond looks like this when each sub-diamond is dissected in its turn:

Dia-flake #2


Now let’s start discarding sub-diamonds:

Dia-flake #3


And now discard everything but sub-diamonds 1 and 2:

Dia-flake #4


Dia-flake #5


Dia-flake #6


Dia-flake #7


Dia-flake #8


Dia-flake #9


Dia-flake #10


Now full Koch snowflakes have appeared inside the diamond — count ’em! I see seven full ’flakes:

Dia-flake #11


Dia-flake (animated)


But that isn’t the limit. In fact, an infinite number of full ’flakes appear inside the diamond — it truly is a Koch rock. Here are examples of how to find more full ’flakes:

Dia-flake 2 (static)


Dia-flake 2 (animated)


Dia-flake 3 (static)


Dia-flake 3 (animated)


Previously pre-posted:

Dissecting the Diamond — other fractals in the dissectable diamond

Dissecting the Diamond

Pre-previously on O.o.t.Ü.-F., I dilated the delta. Now I want to dissect the diamond. In geometry, a shape is dissected when it is completely divided into smaller shapes of some kind. If the smaller shapes are identical (except for size) to the original, the original shape is called a rep-tile (because it can be tiled with repeating versions of itself). If the smaller identical shapes are equal in size to each other, the rep-tile is regular; if the smaller shapes are not equal, the rep-tile is irregular. This diamond is an irregular rep-tile or irrep-tile:

Dissectable diamond

Dissected diamond


As you can see, the diamond can be dissected into five smaller versions of itself, two larger ones and three smaller ones. This makes it a rep-5 irrep-tile. And the smaller versions, or sub-diamonds, can themselves be dissected ad infinitum, like this:

Dissected diamond stage #1


Dissected diamond #2


Dissected diamond #3


Dissected diamond #4


Dissected diamond #5


Dissected diamond #6


Dissected diamond #7


Dissected diamond #8


Dissected diamond #9


Dissected diamond (animated)


The full dissected diamond is a fractal, or shape that is similar to itself at varying scales. However, the fractality of the diamond becomes most obvious when you dissect-and-discard. That is, first you dissect the diamond, then you discard one (or more) of the sub-diamonds, like this:

Diamond fractal (retaining sub-diamonds 1,2,3,4) stage #1


1234-Diamond #2


1234-Diamond #3


1234-Diamond #4


1234-Diamond #5


1234-Diamond #6


1234-Diamond #7


1234-Diamond #8


1234-Diamond #9


1234-Diamond (animated)


Here are some more fractals created by dissecting and discarding one sub-diamond:

Diamond fractal (retaining sub-diamonds 1,2,4,5)


1245-Diamond (anim)


2345-Diamond


2345-Diamond (anim)


The 2345-diamond fractal has variants created by mirroring one or more sub-diamonds, so that the orientation of the sub-dissections changes. Here is one of the variants:

2345-Diamond (variation)


2345-Diamond (variant) (anim)


And here is a fractal created by dissecting and discarding two sub-diamonds:

Diamond fractal (retaining sub-diamonds 1,2,3)


123-Diamond (anim)


Again, the fractal has variants created by mirroring one or more of the sub-diamonds:

123-Diamond (variant #1)


123-Diamond (variant #2)


123-Diamond (variant #3)


123-Diamond (variant #4)


Some more fractals created by dissecting and discarding two sub-diamonds:

125-Diamond


125-Diamond (anim)


134-Diamond


134-Diamond (anim)


235-Diamond


235-Diamond (anim)


135-Diamond


135-Diamond (anim)


A variant of the 135-Diamond fractal looks like one side of a Koch snowflake:

135-Diamond (variant #1) — like Koch snowflake


135-Diamond (variant #2)


Finally, here are some colour variants of the full dissected diamond:






Full diamond colour variants (anim)


Elsewhere other-engageable:

Dilating the Delta