If I had the chops to be a scientist, I think I’d probably want to study snowpack and avalanches. Unfortunately I didn’t quite get the right qualities to be in a lab (I don’t know if that says something about my intelligence, patience, commitment, or something else and, frankly, I don’t really want to know), but I still enjoy reading up on the newest studies relating to the great sport of skiing.
PhD students at WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Switzerland are doing some darn cool research relating to how the microstructure of a weak layer impacts its strength, and they’re growing their own with manmade snow to do so.
Unfortunately, since their research is ongoing, there doesn’t seem to be any information relating to their findings as of yet, but we do have access to a previous study that also used homemade weak layers to study spontaneous avalanches. Check it out here if you’re interested.
PhD students Melin and Jakob show how they grow weak layers in the #SLF's cold laboratory. By doing this, they are investigating the influence of the #microstructure of a weak layer on its strength. This is an important, still missing part for the prediction of slab #avalanches. pic.twitter.com/podrS0kCEo
— WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF (@SLFDavos) March 22, 2023
Image Credit: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF