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Particle densities, velocities and size distributions in large avalanches from impact-sensor measurements

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In winter 1998/99, high-frequency pressure measurements with 10 cm sensors mounted 1–19 m above ground were carried out in the upper run-out zone of the avalanche test site at VallĂ©e de la Sionne, Switzerland. Two large dry-snow avalanches clearly revealed a three-layered structure, with surprisingly low pressures in the suspension (or powder-snow) layer. The height of the saltation layer varied between 1 and > 3 m. From the duration, impulse and frequency of single-particle impacts (observed in the saltation layer and intermittently in the dense flow), particle-size and velocity distribution functions as well as strongly varying saltation-layer densities were found. With improved methods for peak detection and correction for grazing impacts, pressure measurements will become a premier tool for testing granular flow models.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • 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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