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Each year thousands of avalanches occur in the United States Those avalanches are very powerful and destroy mostly every thing in their way sometimes taking human victims with them Avalanches are not just a pile of snow sliding down a hill What are avalanches Avalanches are a large mass of snow ice soil or rock which detaches from a mountain slope and slides or falls suddenly downward Avalanches are one of the most awesome natural disasters on earth They have the force to move building off their foundations if they are in the way of the snow Power like that is crazy especially from just snow An avalanche can be specifically defined as a mass movement hazard for the obvious reason that the movement is hazardous part to us humans What are the two types of avalanches One type is the slab avalanche The slab is a slab of cohesive layer of snow that has not bonded to the other layers It is triggered by stress because it can not support its own weight on the slope and when the stress is exceeded it releases the slab like a window shattering The slab slides down on what is called graupel a small pellet like snow formation The graupel works as ball barring for the slab to slide on the graupel allows the snow to reach speeds of two hundred mile per hour often destroys everything in its way The slab avalanche has a fracture or a fault line where it breaks away from the other snow and starts to slide The fault can be caused by almost anything like a skier snowboarder or snowmobiler The edges are perpendicular to the fault and will slide perpendicular with the fault Another type of an avalanche is the surface or loose snow avalanche This type of avalanche is started on the surface and just keeps sliding down picking up speed and more snow burying things in its
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