noun \ˈa-və-ˌlanch\

: a large amount of snow and ice or of dirt and rocks that slides suddenly down the side of a mountain

: a sudden great amount of something

Full Definition of AVALANCHE

:  a large mass of snow, ice, earth, rock, or other material in swift motion down a mountainside or over a precipice
:  a sudden great or overwhelming rush or accumulation of something <hit by an avalanche of paperwork>
:  a cumulative process in which photons or accelerated charge carriers produce additional photons or charge carriers through collisions (as with gas molecules)

Examples of AVALANCHE

  1. He was buried by an avalanche.


French, from French dialect (Franco-Provençal) lavantse, avalantse
First Known Use: 1744

Other Geology Terms

anthracite, boulder, cwm, erratic, igneous, intrusive, mesa, sedimentary, silt, swale

Rhymes with AVALANCHE



Definition of AVALANCHE

intransitive verb
:  to descend in an avalanche
transitive verb

First Known Use of AVALANCHE



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

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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