EPOD 20th - Microscopic View of Frost on Blade of Grass

September 05, 2020

We’re celebrating 20 years of Earth Science Picture of the Day during the month of September! Today’s photo features a popular EPOD from the past. Thanks to all of our followers (on the blog, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) for supporting us. Thanks also to all of you who’ve submitted your photos. We’re most appreciative. This EPOD was originally published March 17, 2004.

Provided by: Eric Erbe
Summary authors & editors: Eric Erbe; Jim Foster

The spectacular image above shows morning frost on a blade of grass as imaged using a low-temperature scanning electron microscope (SEM). This grass fragment was held in liquid nitrogen (-196 degrees C or -320 F), to keep the frost crystals from melting, before it was imaged at the Scanning Electron Microscopy Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland. Frost crystals form perpendicular to individual blades of grass. Note that although these plate type crystals are hexagonal, a number of them appear to be square-shaped.

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