Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Causes of avalanches

An avalanche is a rapid flow of snow down a slope. A sudden downhill movement of snow. It is a significant hazard to people living in, or visiting, glacial areas. A slab avalanche is the most dangerous form of movement. 

Avalanches are triggered in a starting zone from a mechanical failure in the snowpack when the forces on the snow exceed its strength.

What causes avalanches:

  • Heavy snowfall
  • Deforestation
  • Steep slopes
  • Vibrations 
  • Layering of snow - for instance where snow is already on the mountain and has turned into ice, and then fresh snow falls on top which can easily slide down
  • The wind direction