Skier triggering, snow temperatures and the stability index for dry-slab avalanche initiation
Abstract:For more than 30 years the quantitative method of evaluating stability (e.g.Roch, 1966; Fohn, 1987; Jamieson, 1995; Jamieson and Johnston, 1998a) has been focused on calculation ora strength-to-load ratio (or stability index): when the shear stress applied to the weak layer reaches the shcar strength, failure is imminent. However, field observations combined with experience and measurements indicate that snow-slab temperatures and slab hardness can have a strong influence on dry-snow slab stability. In this paper, we present a simple static analysis of the stability index, and discuss the importance of slab temperatures and hardness and macroscopic size effects (factors not contained in the stability index) on snow-slab stability. Our conclusion is that the traditional method lacks some elements which arc very important in snow-slab stability, particularly when skier triggering is involved.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 1999
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