The Science Behind the Destructive Power of Avalanches
by Sofia Zapata, age 12
Do you know how avalanches are created? Avalanches usually develop after prolonged snowfalls, and they can occur frequently in mountainous areas.
An avalanche, in simple terms, is a mass of loosened snow and earth that travels downhill. They can begin as a small ball of snow and as they travel down a mountain it grows bigger and bigger each second.
Due to their unexpectedness, an avalanche can be very dangerous since it can lead to death if caught in one. For instance, in January of 1718, a village in Switzerland, Leukerbad, was buried by a giant avalanche. Over 50 houses disappeared in the snow in an instant and around 52 villagers were buried in snow.
The smallest of things can trigger an avalanche, including the slighted of noise. That’s why in winter sports areas, snow patrols are hired to watch mountains and warn people of possible avalanches. If there is any sign of danger, all roads have to be closed.
Snow on any mountain is heavy and after an earthquake, it can create an avalanche. That's why people need to be cautious around avalanche-threatening areas since it can lead to mass destruction and even death.
Children's Fact Finder