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Size of snow particles in a powder-snow avalanche

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Little quantitative information is available concerning the size of ice particles in the turbulent clouds of powder-snow avalanches. To quantify particle size distributions, we have developed an experimental device that collects particles in real-scale powder avalanches. The device was placed on the concrete bunker of the Swiss Vallée de la Sionne avalanche dynamics test site. On 31 January 2003, a large powder-snow avalanche struck the bunker and we were able to collect particle samples. The collected particles have been photographed and the pictures digitized. An image analysis tool allows us to determine an equivalent particle radius. The captured particles have a geometric mean of 0.16 mm; the largest particles were 0.8 mm in size and the smallest particles 0.03 mm.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-03-01

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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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