Fascinating research out of Switzerland where scientists at a special cold laboratory in Davos simulate the effects of wind on fresh snow to better understand the mechanisms that trigger avalanches.

One particularly interesting method Institut für Schnee (SLF) employs is scanning and 3D printing cross sections of snow taken from avalanche sites. By taking these microscopic samples and blowing them up to something that can be held in the hand, the scientists gain a new perspective on how avalanche prone layers actually function. Neat!

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About the SLF

The SLF is well known worldwide as a leading research institute in its field. Along with basic research, the SLF performs applied research and provides various services, such as the Avalanche Bulletin.

The SLF carries out advanced research while at the same time contributing to the resolution of urgent social issues, such as warning of natural hazards or analysing climatic and environmental changes in mountain areas.

Research for people and the environment

  • The SLF monitors and researches the condition, origin and evolution of natural hazards, snow, permafrost and mountain ecological systems.
  • The SLF develops concepts, strategies and specific measures to protect populations against natural hazards, in particular avalanches.
  • The SLF develops sustainable solutions for socially relevant issues, in collaboration with partners in the scientific and social sectors.

The SLF is part of the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, making it part of the ETH domain.

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