Item: High explosives and artillery in avalanche control
Title: High explosives and artillery in avalanche control
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1976 International Snow Science Workshop, Banff, Alberta
Authors: R. Perla
Abstract: Avalanche technology in North America depends heavily on explosives for artificial release and stability testing. Approximately 10 5 explosive charges are detonated annually to protect ski areas, roads, and mines. The explosives are hand-thrown from ridges, trams, or helicopters, or launched by military or civilian artillery systems. For safety and convenience, the vast majority of avalanche explosives have high detonation speeds (5000 to 8000 m/s) . Occasionally, low percentage dynamite (3000 to 4000 m/s) is used in cornice blasting.. Slower-speed explosives such as black powders and permissibles (2000 m/s or less) could conceivably be more efficient through a pushing action on the snow. However, operational problems in avalanche work (exposure to severe weather) require the explosive to be highly insensitive and waterproof--properties that are more inherent to high-speed compounds such as TNT, pentolite, and gelatin. Thus, even if it were possible to demonstrate the efficiency of slow-speed explosives, it is highly unlikely that they would be used by avalanche workers because of other undesirable properties.
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Keywords: explosives, technology, artillery, artifical release
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