Snow Sinking Studies

TitleSnow Sinking Studies
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2008
AuthorsFarnes, P. E.
Conference Name76th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 76th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 2008
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationHood River, OR
KeywordsPredator-prey, snow condition, foot pressure, snow density

In snow covered regions, predator-prey relationships change with snow conditions. Some snow conditions are advantageous to the predators while other snow conditions favor the prey species. To understand the relationship between bearing pressure imposed by the various animals and how deep they sink into the snowpack, and different snow parameters, 193 measurements were taken over a 13 year period. Most of the sampling was done in Yellowstone National Park on the Northern range at four to six locations three to four times each winter. Curves were developed to predict how far an animal or object having a known bearing pressure will sink into a snowpack of a given depth and density. Equipment developed and procedures used will be described. Results have been combined into a graph to simplify use. Data is particularly important to evaluating animal's ability to move through snow and predator-prey relationships involving snow, but can also be used to evaluate how deep oversnow vehicles, helicopters with snow pads, skis or snow shoes sink into the snowpack.