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Flow of dense avalanches past obstructions

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One means of preventing areas from being hit by avalanches is to divert the flow by straight or curved walls or tetrahedral or cylindrical-type structures. Thus, there arises the question how a given avalanche flow is changed regarding the diverted-flow depth and flow direction. In this paper a report is given on laboratory experiments performed for gravity-driven dense granular flows down an inclined plane obstructed by plane wall and tetrahedral wedge. It was observed that these flows are accompanied by shocks induced by the presence of the obstacles. These give rise to a transition from super-to subcritical flow of the granular avalanche, associated with depth and velocity changes. It is demonstrated that with an appropriate shock-capturing integration technique for the Savage–Hutter theory, the shock formation for a finite-mass granular flow sliding from an inclined plane into a horizontal run-out zone is well described, as is the shock formation of the granular flow on either side of a tetrahedral protection structure.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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