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Size of snow particles in a powder-snow avalanche

  • Marie Rastello (a1) (a2), Fabrice Rastello (a3), Hervé Bellot (a2), Frédéric Ousset (a2), François Dufour (a4) and Lorenz Meier (a4)...

Abstract

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.

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