COOL IMAGES: Snow Up Close

Science  28 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5479, pp. 503a
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5479.503a

Snow falls not only as six-sided dendritic crystals but also as needles, columns, and plates (and stuck-together combinations). But scientists got a really close look at these shapes just 7 years ago when cytologist William Wergin's group at the Agricultural Research Service chose a snowflake to test a liquid nitrogen-cooled scanning electron microscope stage. The lab's snow imaging techniques have since yielded pictures that are not just stunning—they're also in demand for everything from avalanche research to estimating the amount of water locked in the winter snowpack. Take a cool break from the summer heat at Wergin's site: www.lpsi.barc.usda.gov/emusnow

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