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A laboratory study of the retarding effects of braking mounds on snow avalanches

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A series of laboratory experiments in a 6 m long chute using glass particles of mean diameter 100 µm were performed to investigate the interaction of a supercritical, granular flow with obstacles. It was found that the collision of the flow with a row of mounds led to the formation of a jet, whereby a large fraction of the flow was launched from the top of the mounds and subsequently landed back on the chute. The retarding effect of the mounds was investigated quantitatively by direct measurements of the velocity of the flow, its runout length and the geometry of the jet. The effects of several aspects of the layout of the mounds on their retarding effects were examined. It was observed that a row of steep mounds with an elongated shape in the transverse direction to the flow and with a height several times the flow depth led to dissipation of a large proportion of the kinetic energy of the flow.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2003

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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