Dimensions of dry snow slab avalanches from field measurements

For the data and approximations in this paper, on average, the energy consumed by tensile fracture around the slab perimeter is somewhat less than the shear fracture energy consumed in the weak layer at the base of the slab

D. M. McClung

2009

Scholarcy highlights

  • Field observations and measurements show conclusively that propagating shear fractures within a thin weak layer underneath a thicker, stronger snow slab are responsible for dry snow slab release []
  • One reason to expect that the ratio B/L should be of order 1 is that the fracture energy for slab material, whether in shear or tension, is expected to be similar []
  • Field observations show that the shear fracture propagates upslope from the initiation point underneath a slab of thickness D for a distance L after which tensile fracture initiates through the body of the slab at nearly a right angle to the weak layer []
  • A fundamental question in regard to fracture energy is the relationship between the energy needed to entirely fracture the weak layer compared to the energy required to fracture the slab around its perimeter
  • ] predicted that the ratio B/L should be greater than one in all cases
  • For the data and approximations in this paper, on average, the energy consumed by tensile fracture around the slab perimeter is somewhat less than the shear fracture energy consumed in the weak layer at the base of the slab

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