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Shear strength and angle of repose of snow layers including graupel

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Snow avalanches with failure layers including graupel are sometimes observed in Japan. A snow layer including graupel may be formed close to the melting point (0°C) after passage of a cold front with cumulus clouds. Graupel particles have a large diameter and a spherical shape, so they have a relatively small contact area per unit volume and may form weak layers within the snowpack. In this paper, characteristics of snow layers that include graupel are described by angle of repose, shear frame index (SFI), grain-size distribution, density and temperature. The mean value of the angle of repose was found to be 45°, independent of the grain-size. This suggests that a graupel layer near 0°C will not be formed on a slope exceeding 45°. SFI data for three different graupel layers were measured over 1–3 days for each layer, and were correlated with density. An exponential relationship between shear strength and density was found. The results indicate that the SFI of graupel layers is approximately one-third that of dry new snow with the same density.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-01-01

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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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