Skip to main content

Dense and powder avalanches: momentum reduction generated by a dam

Buy Article:

$30.69 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Passive protection structures reduce avalanche run-out distance and hence the potential damages brought about by an avalanche, by reducing its velocity and mass. This paper starts with a summary of the main existing results on interactions between snow avalanches and dams. In the case of dense avalanches, the effects of dams are re-examined and previous results are theoretically justified. For a powder-snow avalanche a dam has two primary effects. The momentum is reduced by the retarding force upstream of the dam and when the jet collides with the ground after the dam. Entrainment of air during the jet reduces its velocity since the mass increases. For a dense avalanche, there is a retarding force upstream of the dam and when the jet collides with the ground, but there is no significant effect of air entrainment. There is, however, deposition of snow which reduces the momentum of the avalanche without affecting the velocity. The reduction of the volume due to deposition reduces the spreading length and therefore the run-out distance of the avalanche. Downstream of the obstacle, the avalanche flow is regarded as an airborne jet. A comparative study shows that density and ambient-fluid entrainment effects are significant for gravity currents, powder and dense snow avalanches whereas they are negligible in granular flows.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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.

  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more