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Avalanches and Snow Slides

An avalanche happens when a layer of snow becomes loose and slides downhill. Thousands of avalanches occur every winter in the mountains and are usually triggered by people. Avalanches are caused by these four factors: a steep slope, a snow cover, a weak layer in the snow cover and a trigger such as a snowboarder or skier.

Avalanches and Snowslides - Three Main Types

  • Powder Avalanches - An increasing volume of powdered snow is thrown into the air, charging down the slope like a dense cloud. It can reach speeds of 250 mph (400 kph) and can flatten anything in its path.
  • Wet Snow Avalanches - When the temperature warms up, snow weakens and a wet snow avalanche can happen. The snow spreads as it slowly slides. Once it stops, it settles like concrete so buried victims can't move or breathe.
  • Slab Avalanches - These are the most common and are usually triggered by skiers. When layers of snow don't cling together, a trigger such as the weight and tracks of a skier or snowboarder, will cause the top layer to slide. There is little chance of escaping the moving slab as it breaks and carries a victim down the slope.

Avalanche formationAvalanche formation

Avalanches and Snowslides - Outrunning a Slide

Don't bother trying to outrun an avalanche. You won't make it. Dry slab avalanches usually cruise down a slope around 60-80 mph (97-130 kph.) They can reach these speeds about five seconds after they fracture. Wet avalanches are much slower at about 20 mph (32 kph) but it's still a miracle to outrun one.

The Most Dangerous Avalanche

The most dangerous is a dry slab avalanche - it causes the most deaths. Imagine a dinner plate sliding off a table. When the plate shatters and keeps sliding, the food on the plate hardly stands a chance. The slab shatters like glass with the victim in the middle - escape is rare.

Slab AvalancheSlab Avalanche

Avalanche Facts

This usually has a lot to do with luck. But avoiding potential avalanches has to do with using your brains. Here are some avalanche facts to consider:

  • Your chances of surviving an avalanche are around 80% if you use/carry the proper equipment (beacons, shovel, probes, etc.).
  • Without proper equipment your survival chances are less than three percent.
  • Check the conditions and the slope stability before skiing or boarding in avalanche territory.
  • Skiing or boarding out of bounds increases your chances of being caught in a snow slide.
  • If you're caught in an avalanche, swim with the avalanche to try and stay on top.
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Who Can Outrun an Avalanche?

  • Road Runner can outrun an avalanche.
  • Speedy Gonzales can outrun any avalanche.
  • Tazmanian Devil would escape, even if he had to dig.
  • I could outrun an avalanche.

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Aww, this is so sweet :3 I'm a day late, because when @Mermaid_Author14  sent me this it was night time for me. Happy belated birthday @SnowflakeAngelKitten  !!!! I love roleplaying with you because you make things so fun and exciting! Your excitement also reminds me of a younger version of myself. Welllll.. I'm still like that but I don't show that side of me much XD Maybe it's because of the timezones that we haven't been able to talk much, but who cares? I hope you enjoyed your day because you deserved to (: May this year hold lots of chances for you to fangirl since you love it so much! :3
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Annabeth808
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Love it or hate it, the crazy theory of Flat Earth is gaining a lot of popularity and movement world wide. What's your opinion? Remember, regardless of what anyone says, keep an open mind and don't bash. I'm curious to see why people believe the way they do, or if they have facts and evidence to support their claims. So, do you believe the Earth is flat....or spherical?
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AlphaT_1747988
No, AlphaT won't be missed. And he totally isn't tearing up right now.  Thank you. I know it sounds unoriginal, but getting to know all of you has been an absolute privilege. Each of you made my time here worthwhile, and it's nice knowing that I've done the same for you all.  Goodbye!
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