Stay frosty with these beautiful, extreme macro shots of snow crystals


posted Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 5:36 PM EDT


It may be the first day of Spring but we've still got snow on the ground here in the Northeast, and we have to say we're getting a little tired of it. But if you look at those snowflakes extremely closely, as the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Maryland has done using an electron microscope, you'll see that there's more there than meets the eye. And it's really quite beautiful.

The BARC used a Low Temperature Scanning Electronic Microscope (LT-SEM) to capture these extreme macro shots of snow crystals as a way to determine the water content of the winter snow pack. The center uses the information it gleans from the images to monitor the nation's water supply and to anticipate potential flooding during the Spring thaw.

While all that sounds terribly important and scientific, we think these shots stand on their own as exquisite pieces of art. We've shared a few below including one spectacular snow crystal displaying a "pseudo" blue color, to help you get through what, hopefully, are the last few days before warmer weather arrives.

If you like these extreme close-ups, check out these gorgeous macro photos of snowflakes from earlier this winter, and these bizarre electron microscope shots of food.

(Via Twister Sifter)