Image Comparisons of Snow and Ice Crystals Photographed by Light (Video) Microscopy and Low-Temperature Scanning Electron Microscopy

TitleImage Comparisons of Snow and Ice Crystals Photographed by Light (Video) Microscopy and Low-Temperature Scanning Electron Microscopy
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsWergin WP, Rango A, Erbe EF
JournalScanning
Volume20
Start Page285
Pagination285-296
Date Published02/1998
Keywordsice, low-temperature scanning electron microscopy, snow crystals, video microscopy
Abstract

Light (video) microscopy and low-temperature scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to examine and record images of identical precipitated and metamorphosed snow crystals as well as glacial ice grains. Collection procedures enabled numerous samples from distant locations to be shipped to a laboratory for storage and/or observation. The frozen samples could be imaged with a video microscope in the laboratory at ambient temperatures or with the low-temperature SEM. Stereo images obtained by video microscopy or low-temperature SEM greatly increased the ease of structural interpretations. The preparation procedures that were used for low-temperature SEM did not result in sublimation or melting. However, this technique did provide far greater resolution and depth of focus over that of the video microscope. The advantage of resolution was especially evident when examining the small particles
associated with rime and graupel (snow crystals encumbered with frozen water droplets), whereas the greater depth of focus provided clearer photographs of large crystals such as depth hoar, and ice. Because the SEM images contained only surface information while the video images were frequently confounded by surface and internal information, the SEM images also clarified the structural features of depth hoar crystals and ice grains. Low-temperature SEM appears to have considerable promise for future investigations of snow and ice.
 

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