Avalanche character definition table

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Identify the Avalanche Character(s) that best represents the avalanche problem(s) within the defined Location. When multiple characters exist, they should be prioritized in order of importance.

Character Weak Layer /
Slab Property Persistence Weak Layer
Relative Size
Loose Dry Various
(no cohesion)
None Hours/days Near the surface Down slope entrainment R1-2
Loose Wet Various
(no cohesion)
None Hours/days Any level Significant down slope entrainment R1-3
Wind Slabs DF, PP 4F-K
wind transported
Hours/days Upper pack Terrain features R1-3
Storm Slabs PP, DF F-P
Hours/days In or just below storm snow Path R1-4
Wet Slabs Various 4F-P
Wet grains
Hours/days Midpack to deep Path R1-5 (climax)
Persistent Slabs PWLs such as SH, FC,
CR, FC/CR combo
Weeks/months Upper to midpack Path to adjacent path R2-4
Deep Persistent Slabs PWLs such as DH, FC,
CR, FC/CR combo
Weeks/months Deep or basal Path to adjacent paths R3-5 (climax)
Cornice ~ ~ Months with short peaks ~ ~ ~
Comment Typical failure plane Typical kind of slab Typical duration of instability Relative to HS Typical expectation Typical range of size relative to path

Source: Statham, G., Haegeli, P., Birkeland, K. W., Greene, E., Israelson, C., Tremper, B., et al. (2010). A conceptual model of avalanche hazard. Paper presented at the International Snow Science Workshop, Lake Tahoe, CA.

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