Numerical simulation of powder-snow avalanches

Y. Fukushima, G. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Appropriate expressions describing the motion of powder-snow avalanches are derived. The model consists of four equations, ie. the conservation equations of fluid mass, snow-particle mass, momentum of the cloud, and kinetic energy of the turbulence. Insofar as the density difference between the avalanche and the ambient air becomes rather large compared with the density of the ambient air, the Boussinesq approximation, which is typically used to analyze density currents, cannot be adopted in the present case. As opposed to previous models, the total buoyancy of a powder-snow avalanche is allowed to change freely via erosion from and deposition on to a static snow layer on a slope. In the model, the snow-particle entrainment rate from the slope is directly linked to the level of turbulence. A discontinuous, large-scale powder-snow avalanche occurred on 26 January 1986 near Maseguchi, Niigata Prefecture, Japan. The present model is employed to simulate that part of the avalanche above any dense core. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-237
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Issue number123
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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