lt sem


give “like” if you wanna use/save and NEVER REPOST (NEVAAAH!)



Snowing again here on the East Coast of the US, but I don’t see these mythical snowflakes-I’m seeing the three inches that have already accumulated since I shoveled the first three inches a couple of hours ago.  Snowflake crystals have been studied and misunderstood for decades-their crystal structure entering popular mythology for their perfection and uniqueness.  The word crystal comes to us straight from Latin and Ancient Greek, and brought an interesting cousin with it as well.  The Latin form was crystallus meaning crystal or ice and the Ancient Greek form was krystallos from kryos meaning frost or ice.  Kryos came from a proto-Indo-European root kru- meaning a hard outer crust.  Which brings us to the country cousin of crystal:  crust!  It is amazing that some of these words persist unchanged for thousands of years. 

These images come from the United States Department of Agriculture Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, just a few miles away in Beltsville Maryland.  They use a Low Temperature Scanning Electron Microscope (LT-SEM) to capture these stunning images.  Believe it or not, they use a process of freezing samples collected throughout the world with liquid nitrogen down to as low as -196 celsius, which allows the normally fragile and ephemeral snowflakes to be shipped to Maryland.  

All images in the public domain, via USDA.