Item: New experiments with methods for avalanche release
Title: New experiments with methods for avalanche release
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1976 International Snow Science Workshop, Banff, Alberta
Authors: E.R. LaChapelle
Abstract: This contribution is based on a paper presented the Symposium on Applied Glaciology, International Glaciological Society, Cambridge, England, 1976. The paper can be found the Proceedings of that symposium. The method of artificial avalanche release most widely used today is the initiation of snow slab fracturing by high explosives. Such explosives, delivered to the avalanche release zone by hand or as artillery projectiles, provide a powerful disruptive force which can cause avalanche release in an unstable, stressed snow cover. Currently, the rising demand for avalanche control activities to protect ski resorts, highways and railways by artificial release is coming into conflict with the safety and regulatory problems of storing and handling explosives and, especially in the u.s. the declining availability of surplus military weapons and ammunition which have been widely used for this purpose. provide alternatives to high explosives, a research program is now under way to design and field-test other methods of artificially releasing avalanches. Innovative methods to prevent formation of unstable snow slabs are also being considered. Replacements for artillery and explosives are no expected to be found for all cases, but very possibly they can be developed for many of the smaller and more active avalanche paths which require a major part of the control activities.
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Keywords: fracturing, explosives, artifical release
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