Item: The temporal variations of near-surface faceted crystals, red mountain pass corridor, colorado
Title: The temporal variations of near-surface faceted crystals, red mountain pass corridor, colorado
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1998 International Snow Science Workshop, Sunriver, Oregon
Authors: Joe Stock Kelly Elder and Karl Birkeland, Department of Earth Resources, Colorado State University, Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, Dept. of Earth Resources, Montana State University
Abstract: Avalanches are an important natural hazard. Slab avalanches initiate when a more cohesive layer lies over a less cohesive weak layer and the stresses on the slab exceed the weak layer's strength. Weak layers are commonly composed of surface hoar, graupel, or faceted crystals. One important type of faceted crystal forms in the nearsurface layers. During the 1997/98 winter a study of near-surface faceted crystals was conducted along the Red Mountain Pass corridor between Silverton and Ouray, Colorado. This study examines temporal variations in selected nearsurface faceted layers at three study plots at Red Mountain Pass. The north-facing site retained lower strength faceted crystals throughout the study period while the other sites evolved into higher strength crystals. Stuffblock stability tests indicated an increase in stability on the northfacing site, yet the south-facing site lost strength toward the end of the study period.
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Keywords: snow crystals, snow metamorphism, snow stability, avalanches
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