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A fracture-entrainment model for snow avalanches

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Abstract:

We use the invariant Γ integral of fracture mechanics to calculate the frontal pressure and resistance to the downward motion a of snow avalanche. A basic characteristic property of the snowpack, termed the entrainment toughness, is introduced. From an analysis of the non-entrainment frictional mechanisms of avalanches, we find the necessary condition for a fracture-entrainment regime, and from an analysis of limiting equilibrium of gravitational force and frontal resistance, the necessary condition equation for the start of avalanches. We then derive the governing equations for the dynamics of avalanches, using a point-mass approach with entrainment taken into account. The governing equations are used to numerically simulate the VallĂ©e de la Sionne (Switzerland) avalanche of 7 February 2003.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3189/002214308784409071

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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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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