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Types Of Avalanches And Famous Avalanches

Updated on October 22, 2011

You are on vacation and find a prefect spot for skiing downhill, you start up perfectly and by the time you're in the middle of your down hill trip suddenly a huge mass of ice and snow breaks away beneath your skis and the entire skin of mountain of surges down rapidly towing you along everything in its path.

You should find yourself lucky if you survive this because you have just been hit by one of the most aggressive behavior of nature known to man as “Avalanche”.

What Is An Avalanche?

An avalanche is a phenomenon in which the entire layer of snow over a mountain or a slope breaks off naturally or from human triggering with rapid speed down slope. Avalanches are usually composed of flowing snow and are very much different from land slides, rock slides etc.

Different Type Of Avalanches

Avalanches can be classified into many different types according to the composition that is the type of the snow they are made up of the way they slide down etc. Avalanches can be broadly classified into three main types.

  1. Wet snow avalanches.
  2. Dry snow avalanches.
  3. Slab avalanches.

Wet avalanches usually occur in spring when the snow is about to melt due to increase in temperature, these avalanches are considered to be the least dangerous one.

While dry avalanches are like clouds of powder hiding beneath is the rapidly moving snow which is considered to be its core that is a fluidized mix of air and ice particles in a ratio of 70 30 percent. 

On the other hand the most dangerous of the avalanches are the slab avalanches in which a huge chunk of solid snow in form of a slab breaks away from the slope in the process sliding across a layer of lose snow crystals that are underneath it. Slab avalanches are usually caused by skiers and they destroy every thing in their path.

Some Of The Most Destructive Avalanches In History

Following are some the most deadly avalanches in human history inflicting huge amount of damage and a staggering death toll.

The Tragedy Of Turkey

The February of 1992 will always be remembered in eastern turkey as it brought losses and mourning. The place of Mount Gabar is renowned for heavy snowfall. But the snowfall of February 1992 went a little too much; recording up to at least thirty feet of snow at some places.

The result was catastrophic, a very large avalanche started to make its pace on the slopes of Mount Gabar and with in seconds engulfed the villages of Gormec, Sirnak, and Seclice. With in minutes these villages disappeared in the snow. Raising the death toll to over 250 and leaving several injured.

The casualties were more than half of the village’s population. The avalanche also buried a military check post just outside the village killing seventy of the one twenty troops that occupied it. Eventually the government of turkey declared the area as a disaster zone.

Cascade Killer

Perhaps the worst avalanches reported in the history of United States Of America was the avalanche of Willington, Washington.

The disaster occurred on March the 1st 1910. This avalanche is known in the history as Willington snow slide. A huge mass of snow fell from the Cascade Mountains and went down on Wellington hitting the railroad station area.

The entire station along with carriages, rails, three locomotives and other debris were taken away and buried 150 feet underneath the gorge. Leaving behind 150 dead and dozens injured and severely wounded.

The White Killer

The winter of 1950-1951 also took with it many lives, leaving many homeless and dozens under the fearful and grim memories of the tragic avalanche that hit Alps of south-central Europe. 

The January of 1951 received more than usual snowfall at some places more than seven feet. The result was the recipe for avalanche. And finally in the last week of January the white killer was let lose.

Resulting in more than hundred avalanches during the winter season wiping out entire vegetation and destroying homes and raging havoc on mankind. The village of Airolo was completely wiped out. That particular winter claimed more than 280 casualties of the dwellers of Alps.  

Avalanches Around The World


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      coolstar 5 years ago

      gr8 video...very informative page...thnks!

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      Swag#1 5 years ago

      Wow. Amazing



      Helped in my project



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      MaD 5 years ago

      Wow. Amazing

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      kiara 5 years ago

      that video of the avalanches was sick!

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      Swag#1 5 years ago

      Thx 4 the help. It will really help in my project, now all I have to do is decide on an avalanche. :)

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      elle 5 years ago

      awesome thnx for posting it was extremly helpful:D

    • profile image

      fishoil 5 years ago

      awesome but it dint help me but still liked the video wish there were more like it

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      tori.b. 5 years ago

      that realy helped me with my homework thanks

      :) xxxx

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      wackoman 5 years ago

      thanks for the help dude

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      marcus 5 years ago

      i like this viedo

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      Ashely 6 years ago

      thanks for the helpp !

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      tim 6 years ago

      thanks for your help :)

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      Rules do pool 6 years ago


      Avalanche is so awsome and mad!!!

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      hi 6 years ago

      this helped me with my speech!

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      cheekyhomework123 7 years ago

      this helped me sooooo much with homework and stuff thanks!

      :] keep up the good work you set the standard high!!!!!!!!!! i would recommend this to anyone! thank you:]

    • profile image

      cheekyhomework123 7 years ago

      this helped me sooooo much with homework and stuff thanks!


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      Lilyandjamespotter 7 years ago

      o m g!

      y would someone do that???

    • hassam profile image

      hassam 7 years ago from Pakistan

      Thanks for watching and your interest!

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      WildIris 7 years ago

      Interesting. I liked the video--Crazed skiers/snowboarders! I've never seen film footage of an avalanches before; the snow looks like it has the same kind of power one would see in waves of water at the beach.