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On the instability of avalanching glaciers

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The instability of hanging glaciers and more generally of avalanching glaciers is discussed on the basis of observations performed on several glaciers located in the European Alps. A classification of avalanching glaciers is proposed, which allows a primary appreciation of the danger inherent in these glaciers. On the basis of field observations and results of numerical simulations of crevassing, the fracture processes which lead to major icefalls, as well as their recurrence, are analyzed. A method for predicting the time of failure is then discussed. The disaggregation of the unstable ice masses usually observed prior to large icefalls is investigated and its implications for the forecasting of icefalls analyzed.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-01-01

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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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