avalanche


avalanche

Large mass of material, such as snow or rock debris, that moves rapidly down a mountain slope, sweeping everything in its path. Avalanches begin when a mass of material overcomes the frictional resistance of the sloping surface, often after the material's foundation has been weakened by rains or the snow has been partially melted by a warm, dry wind. Other weather conditions that can lead to avalanches are heavy snowfall and high winds. A common method of avalanche control consists of detonating explosives in the upper reaches of avalanche zones, which intentionally causes the snow to slide before accumulations have become very great.

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