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Slab avalanche release viewed as interface fracture in a random medium

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A theoretical model is formulated to investigate the influence of random variations in strength of the weak layer on slab avalanche release. An equation for slab stability is derived which accounts for stress redistribution between strong and weak regions. The model is first used to re-derive results on shear fractures (shear bands) in a homogeneous slab. It is then applied to the case of a slab with randomly varying peak strength of the weak layer. It is demonstrated that such variation may have a dramatic knock-down effect on the failure strength of a slope. The nature of the critical flaw is studied and precursors to failure are investigated.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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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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