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whumpf


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[onomatopoeic]

A colloquial term for the sudden collapse of weak layers within a snow pack on level terrain. Failure of the lower, fragile layers allows the overlying surface to drop, with a characteristic sound. Although the vertical motion may be small (a few millimetres) it is often sufficient to affect a large area, several hundred metres or even kilometres across, and, if it reaches steep terrain, may trigger an avalanche.

Subjects: Meteorology and Climatology.


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