Lubrication by meltwater may have enabled massive slide
Although the world’s ice and snow is melting rapidly on a geologic time scale, it still seems to be a gradual process, at least for casual observers. But last summer, July 16, to be exact, 70 million tons of ice broke off the Aru Glacier in western Tibet and crashed far down into the valley, killing nine nomadic yak herders. NASA scientists reported on the avalanche here.
A team of scientists who analyzed the giant avalanche now say there’s a good chance that global warming was a key factor in the unusual slide. The researchers, who published their findings this week in the Journal of Glaciology, said that that the avalanche lasted about four or five minutes, burying 3.7 square miles of the valley floor in that time. Something — likely meltwater at the base of the glacier — must have lubricated the ice to speed its flow down the mountain, they said. Continue reading “Study eyes link between giant Tibet avalanche and global warming”→
New Year’s Eve accident marks first avalanche death of the season
FRISCO — A hiker trying to climb one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks died in an avalanche on the last day of 2014. The accident happend on the Kelso Ridge approach to Torreys Peak, a 14er along the Continental Divide between Summit and Clear Creek counties.
FRISCO — An incoming winter storm has prompted the Colorado Avalanche Information Center to issue an avalanche watch for most of the Colorado Mountains, with the exception of the southern San Juans and the Sangre de Cristos.
The Colorado effort is part of an ambitious national push to reduce avalanche fatalities to zero by 2025. Project Zero is a collaboration between AIARE, Snowsports Industries America, Friends of the CAIC, the Utah Avalanche Center, Northwest Avalanche Center, Canadian Avalanche Centre, National Ski Areas Association and the National Ski Patrol.
FRISCO — Colorado’s exceptionally deep snowpack turned deadly this week, as a backcountry traveler near Kebler Pass was killed in a large avalanche. Search and rescue crews also found another victim in the backcountry between Keystone and Breckenridge after a two-day search.
According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the Feb. 10 Kebler Pass slide involved two snowmobilers caught in a “very large avalanche” on a south- to southeast-facing slope below treeline. The slide broke between two to five-feet deep, about 600 feet wide and ran about 750 vertical feet. Debris at the bottom of the slide piled up to 20 feet deep.
FRISCO — Avalanches have killed four people since March 1, including a snowboarder near Cameron Pass (west of Fort Collins, March 2), a snowmobiler in Utah and a climber on Mountain Washington, in New Hampshire.