Rockslides and Avalanches: Natural Phenomena v. 1

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Week October 30 - November Week October 23 - October Week October 16 - October Week October 09 - October Week October 02 - October Week September 25 - October 1. Week September 18 - September Week September 11 - September Week September 4 - September 10, Technological disasters: Week August 28 - September Week August 21 - August Week August 14 - August Week August 07 - August Week July 31 - August Week July 24 - July Week July 17 - July Week July 10 - July Week July 03 - July Week June 26 - July Week June 19 - June Week June 12 - June Week June 05 - June Week May 29 - June Week May 22 - May Week May 15 - May Week May 08 - May Week May 1st - May Week April 24 - April Week April 17 - April Week April 10 - April Week April 03 - April Week March 27 - April Week March 20 - March Week March 13 - March Week March 06 - March Week February 27 - March Week February 20 - February Week February 13 - February Week February 06 - February Week January 30 - February Week January 09 - January Week January 02 - January Week December 26 - January 01 Week December 19 - December Week December 12 - December Week December 05 - December Week November 28 - December Week November 21 - November Week November 14 - November Week November 07 - November Week October 31 - November Week October 24 - October Week October 17 - October Week October 10 - October Week October 03 - October Week September 26 - October Week September 19 - September Week September 12 - September Week September 05 - September Week August 29 - September Week August 22 - August Week August 15 - August Week August 08 - August Week August 01 - August Week July 25 - July Week July 18 - July Week July 11 - July Week July 04 - July Week June 27 - July Week June 20 - June Week June 13 - June Week June 06 - June Week May 30 - June Week May 23 - May Week May 16 - May Week May 09 - May Week May 02 - May Week April 25 - May Week April 18 - April Week April 11 - April Week April 04 - April Week March 28 - April Week March 21 - March Week March 14 - March Week March 07 - March Week February 29 - March Week February 22 - February Week February 15 - February Week February 08 - February Week February 01 - February Week January 25 - January Week January 18 - January Week January 11 - January Week January 04 - January Week December 28 - January 03 Week December 21 - December Week December 14 - December Week December 07 - December Week November 30 - December 6.

Week November 23 - November Week November 16 - November Week November 9 - November Week November 2 - November 8. Week October 26 - November 1st. Week October 19 - October Week October 12 - October Week October 5 - October Week September 28 - October 4. Week September 21 - September By digging a snow pit or profile , scientists can look at the composition of different snow layers that formed during a season, sort of like looking at the layers of a cake.

Canadian Geotechnical Journal

The size and shape of the snowflakes in each layer provide clues about the weather events that occurred: big dumps of snow, drought, rain, a hard freeze, or loose, powdery snow. Larger, looser snow crystals are weaker , because there are fewer points they can touch to interact with the other snow layers. The interaction of the snow layers can help predict the chances of an avalanche.

He emphasizes that conditions can change rapidly with the weather, and this can be deadly. Slopes shaded from direct sun stay cooler, preventing bonding between snow layers and leading to more avalanches in cold conditions. Conversely, during the spring, sunny mountainsides have a higher risk for avalanches because of rapid warming and melting.

Precipitation type and intensity, temperature, wind, slope steepness and orientation the direction it faces , terrain, vegetation, and general snowpack conditions can influence whether and how snow moves down a slope. Moving across the terrain, slight changes in slope or how the mountainside is oriented towards the sun can create drastically different conditions.

The Forest Service runs 14 backcountry avalanche centers in the United States to provide information for people recreating in snowy wilderness areas. Forecasters use four main elements to describe conditions, assign a danger level , and help recreators make the best decisions in the backcountry.

Field teams at avalanche centers document the snowpack—the thickness and type of snow layers—and combine those data with weather conditions to estimate danger levels. The forecasts take into account the potential type and size of an avalanche, the likelihood it will occur, and the location. Before entering the backcountry, check online forecasts for the danger level in that area. Each mountain range has unique snow properties and therefore, avalanche risks, so checking your specific region is critical. New Zealand , Canada , and Europe also maintain year-round forecasts of avalanche danger for specific peaks and wilderness areas.

The extreme mobility of debris avalanches: A new model of transport mechanism

Experts recommend hiking and travelling earlier in the day. Weather conditions can change rapidly, and warming during the day creates more unstable snowpack with a higher risk for avalanches. Education and proper training on avalanches can help prepare you.


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Heed all warnings and signs. Some accidents have been traced to people avoiding warnings due to psychological traps , like desiring the ultimate ski slope, untouched by humans. Constant vigilance when you are outside can help avoid causing or getting swept up in avalanches, but even trained experts can be become victims. Be aware of the weather and terrain, and know your comfort level before you embark on an adventure.

Read more about avalanche safety tips. If caught in an avalanche , try to get off the slab. In best case scenarios, this is difficult.

Landslides and Mudslides|CDC

Skiers and snowboarders can head at a degree angle downhill to gather speed and veer left or right out of the slide path. Snowmobilers can punch the throttle to power out of harm's way. No escape? Reach for a tree. No tree? Swim hard.

Geologic Setting

The human body is denser than avalanche debris and will sink quickly. As the slide slows, clear air space to breathe.

Natural Disasters Episode 1 - "Avalanches + Landslides"

Then punch a hand skyward. Once the avalanche stops, it settles like concrete, making body movement nearly impossible.