Item: Evaluation of the shovel shear test
Title: Evaluation of the shovel shear test
Proceedings: 1988 International Snow Science Workshop, Whistler, October 12-15
Authors: Peter Schaerer
Abstract: The shovel shear test - an index observation of the stability of snow packs - consists of cutting a vertical column of snow, applying a force by pressIng with a shovel parallel to the snow surface, observing the location of a failure, and rating the force that was required to produce the failure. The test, simulating in-situ a failure of snow in shear, has the objectives of: a) locating a weak snow layer or a weak interface between layers; b) estimating the strength in shear of the weak layer or interface. Field observers use the test frequently because it is simple and quick, and the only equipment required is a shovel, but the test must be carried out with care and the results must be interpreted with caution. The objective of this paper is to draw attention to the limitations of the shovel shear test and make recommendation on how to apply it.
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Keywords: snow pack, stability, shovel shear test, failure, snow layer
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