Overview

avalanche


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

A rapidly descending mass, usually of snow, down a mountainside. Powder avalanches consist of a moving amorphous mass of snow. Slab avalanches occur when a large block of snow moves down a slope and can cut a swathe through the soil and sometimes erode the bedrock if the snow is wet. See A. V. Briuchanov (1967).

Avalanches of other substances are forms of mass movement, and are distinguished by the type of material involved. Debris avalanches are typically triangular in shape, and are associated with morphological discontinuities, such as scarps and road cuts; see Guadagno et al. (2005) Geomorph. 66, 1–4 on man-made cuts and debris slides. Rock avalanches occur when a jointed rock loses internal cohesion, until some sections are held together only by the friction between blocks. If this frictional force is lessened through water seepage, or if lateral support is removed, failure will occur. See Mitchell et al. (2007) Landslides 4, 3.

Subjects: Meteorology and Climatology.


Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »


Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.