Avalanche Studies & Snow Sciences


photo of snow pit
Working at Alpental
Alaska Range avalanche, 2002
Alaska Range, 2002
Altostratus clouds over Snoqualmie Pass February 12, 2008
Altostratus clouds, Snoqualmie Pass, 2008
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curriculum standards

Determining the likelihood of an avalanche is a critical decision faced by snow scientists and avalanche professionals. My research focuses on the the physical processes that control release and failure.

Currently, in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Transportation and Alpental Ski area, I am invesigating snow glide processes and rain-on-snow events that lead to full-depth avalanches. I am also starting a new project using seismnic techniques to characterize and detect natural avalanches.

 Glide avalanches, Alpental
 2004 surveying at Alpental
 '04 ISSW abstract
 '08 ISSW abstract
 '09 ISSW abstract
 '09 ISSW extended abstract (PDF)
 ISSW 2006 Teton Pass field trip
 ISSW 2008 Whistler field trip
 ISSW 2009 Davos field trip


During the winter months I teach GEOL 410, Snow Sciences: The Physics of Avalanches. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Cascades Range, this lecture and field course introduces physical processes in snow dynamics, snowpack accumulation and metamorphism, redistribution, ablation, and runoff.

"How we get to go out in the field and practice everything that we were learning about. And being able to directly see how what we're learning could save our lives."

 GEOL 410 home page
   Snow Sciences: The physics avalanches

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