The Physics of Avalanches

Snow Cover

Avalanches are just one of many natural disasters that kill people every year.  The difference to Alaskans is that this disaster hits a little closer to home than most.  The fear of hurricane and tornado are not existent in this region, and even earthquakes are seen more as a little shake then any threat. Physics plays a huge part in avalanches, thermodynamics, statics, and gravity are just a few elements of these disasters.  The map above confirms that Alaska is at high risk for avalanche.  As a result of this threat, learning about avalanches is a necessity when recreating or working in high avalanche areas.
Slab Avalanches
Cornices & Ice
Slope Stability

Created by Sarah Schlichting for Physics 212
Last modified 04-04-03