Item: Evidence of chaos in slab avalanches
Title: Evidence of chaos in slab avalanches
Proceedings: 2002 International Snow Science Workshop, Penticton, British Columbia
Authors: Walter Rosenthal, Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara, Kelly Elder, Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Fort Collins, Colorado
Abstract: We present evidence that slab avalanching is a chaotic process. A 20-year set of 8062 avalanches running on more than 140 paths at Mammoth Mountain was examined The distribution of crown sizes greater than a given size is scale invariant (fractal) over the entire mountain and on individual paths. Chaotic systems often exhibit fractal statistics. We reconstruct the phase space portrait and resulting attractor for crown size on one avalanche path for the period 1982/1983 through 2001/2002. Independent measures of the attractor, including comparison against surrogate sets of stochastic data, indicate the time series is deterministic and that the attractor is chaotic.
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Keywords: avalanche, chaos, fractals, attractors
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