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Earthquake-induced snow avalanches: II. Experimental study

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We conducted experiments on the stability of snow, subjecting snow to vibrations, with the aim of improving our understanding of poorly studied mechanisms behind the triggering of avalanches during earthquakes. Most experiments were carried out on a specially constructed shaking table using artificial snowpacks containing a weak layer. Accelerations in the snow samples were measured using high-frequency sensors, enabling calculation of vibration-induced stresses within the snow at the moment of fracture. We used a high-speed camera to film different types of fracturing. In all cases, the vibrations caused failure of the snow by fracturing along the weak layer or at the base of the snow sample. An additional inertial stress induced by accelerations normal to the shear plane was quantified. We find that this stress can be related to smaller values of the shear strength in snow.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • 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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