Mechanics of snow slab failure from a geotechnical perspective

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Proceedings titleIAHS Publication
ConferenceProc. Davos Symposium: 14 September 1986, Davos, Switzerland
Pages475508; # of pages: 34
Subjectavalanches; mechanics; snow avalanche mechanisms; deformation character; dry slab avalanches; full depth avanalches; rapid gliding; glide interface
AbstractField observations and measurements show that all snow slab failures have some common features. The physical mechanisms governing the release can differ greatly depending on the character of the deformation in the weak layer or interface beneath the slab where the release process initiates. Here two prototypes for slab avalanche initiation are considered: I. release of dry slab avalanches where weak layer shear failure beneath the slab is required and, II. release of full depth avalanches caused by rapid gliding. For avalanches caused by glide, it is proposed that the snowpack partially separates from the glide interface. This reduces drag and increases glide speed. The deformation processes for both types of slab failure are reviewed and suggestions for future research are given.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Institute for Research in Construction; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NRC number28774
NPARC number20331627
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Record identifierf02c324d-4f57-455b-9c40-80dd413259e5
Record created2012-07-18
Record modified2016-05-09
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