Avalanche- Reasons and types

Avalanche- Reasons and types

Question:- An avalanche is sometimes seen as an effect of an earthquake. Explain the causes and types of avalanche?

- A huge mass of snow often mixed with ice and other debris traveling down a mountain is called an avalanche. This happens when layers of accumulated snow is disturbed in some way, be it naturally or even by humans.

- An additional snow or rainfall, wind, sudden warming, rock fall can trigger an avalanche. Humans trigger it due to factors like skiers and snow mobiles. The pressure caused by the weight of one of the people too can cause a fracture in the snow pack loosening the top layer uncorking a downpour of snow. It is said that an avalanche occurs 24 hours after a rapid, heavy snowfall.

- The avalanche issue is the most severe in Europe and north America due to the high population in Alps. As per studies, mountainous regions in arctic and other temperate zones with an angle between 25° and 60° are at greater risk of an avalanche.

Types of avalanche:

- Loose snow avalanche- This is seen typically on a steep terrain, gathering volume and intensity as it travels down the mountain. It generally occurs with freshly fallen snow or existing snow that has melted due to sunlight.

- Slab avalanche- Most common type if winter avalanche, in this an entire layer of snow separates, shattering like glass, hurtling down a mountain. 90% if avalanche deaths are caused by this type.

- Powder avalanche- Starting from a single point, it forms a large snowball by accumulating snow on its way. This is a common type post a heavy snowfall. It can travel between 62 and 186 miles per hour.


- Avalanche risk is at its greatest 24 hours following a snowfall of 12 inches or more.

- The deadliest avalanche in American history was due to a train wreck in 1910. Roughly 96 people died in the incident.

- After an hour only one among three victims buried in an avalanche is found alive. The most common causes of death are suffocation, wounds, and hypothermia.
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