Item: Strength Comparisons Between Avalanche and Non-Avalanche Snowpacks
Title: Strength Comparisons Between Avalanche and Non-Avalanche Snowpacks
Proceedings: 1984 International Snow Science Workshop, Aspen, Colorado, USA
- Sue A. Ferguson
Abstract: To help alleviate difficulties in experimental testing of snow strength, stresses creating actual slab avalanches are evaluated using a simple model of avalanche mechanics. Fracture-line profiles of slab avalanches show measured snow properties of a system that has responded to applied stresses by fracturing. For example, shear failure occurs within a weak zone above the bed surface and tensile failure occurs at the crown wall of the slab-group. When compared with the layered structure of stable snow packs, the potential for these strength estimates as forecasting tools emerges. Tensile stresses calculated from fracture-line profiles emulate actual tensile strengths within the slab-group and appear greater than tensile stresses occurring in potential slab-groups of stable profiles. Limitations of the data and the applied mechanical model are illuminated. Improvements are suggested for field observations and experimental techniques.
Language of Article: English
Keywords: snow strength, fracture-line, shear failure, weak zone
Digital Abstract Not Available