Melt-freeze crust formation and evolution in the Columbia Mountains

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Melt-freeze crusts play an important role in many slab avalanches. Recent work with snowpack models has shown the need for field based research on the formation and evolution of melt-freeze crusts. This project uses historical weather and snowpack data to determine the metrological conditions during crust formation and the resulting crust properties. In addition, field measurements of the evolution of buried melt-freeze crusts were collected over the winters of 2010-11 and 2011-12. Measured properties include density, shear strength, and thin-blade resistance. A thermal imager was used to track changes to small scale temperature gradients around crusts. A new set of crust indices were developed as a simple method for tracking changes to crust internal lamination and the bonding to adjacent layers. These measurements and indices can supplement the data used for avalanche forecasting and be used to improve and validate snowpack evolution models.
Buhler, R. (2013). Melt-freeze crust formation and evolution in the Columbia Mountains (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/26874