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Near-surface faceted crystals and their effect on snow stability, Red Mountain Pass Corridor, Colorado
Submitted by Armida on Mon, 02/11/2013 - 10:24
|Near-surface faceted crystals and their effect on snow stability, Red Mountain Pass Corridor, Colorado
|Year of Conference
|Stock, J., Elder K., and Birkeland K.
|66th Annual Western Snow Conference
|Proceedings of the 66th Annual Western Snow Conference
|Western Snow Conference
|Avalanche forecasting, Snow crystals
Avalanches may be important hydrologically if avalanche deposits alter the timing and volume of runoff. Avalanches often fail from a weak layer such as surface hoar. graupel. or faceted crystals. One important type of faceted crystal. called near-surface faceted crystals. form in the near-surface layers. During the 1997/98 winter. A study of near-surface faceted crystals was conducted along the Red Mountain Pass corridor, Colorado. Six types of near-surface faceted crystals were differentiated: small faceted crystals, radiation recrystallization grains. Faceted precipitation crystals, near-surface hoar, faceted partly-decomposed precipitation crystals and needles. A particularly well-developed near-surface facet layer that evolved in December acted as the dominant weak layer in the study area for seven weeks. Observation of 14 avalanches showed that 79% of the failures occurred on near-surface faceted layers. The majority of stability test failures occurred on near-surface faceted layers. Understanding the growth of near-surface faceted crystals and their effect on snow stability is important for avalanche forecasting.