White Death – The Science of Avalanches

Dr. John Sohl
Physics Department
Weber State University

Predicting avalanches is a challenge and can only be done as probabilities. However, once an avalanche is released, there is a lot that we can do to understand the dynamics of the motion. Jointly with the Snowbasin Ski Patrol and National Geographic, we loaded an iron crash dummy (“Iron Man” of course) with motion detectors and cameras then used explosives to release avalanches on him and then “enjoyed the ride.” The presentation will include visible and infrared video, crash data and tips on how to avoid taking a ride yourself.

Avalanch Motion Graph

Snowbird Avalanche Howitzer

Avalanche Control Group