Snow Avalanche Risk and Mitigation

Video Length: 1:12:12

Date Recorded: March/14/2019

In this webinar, Bruce Jamieson and Dave Gauthier will identify some aspects of snow avalanches that are different from other slope hazards such as debris flows. The effects of these differences on assessment and/or mitigation methods will be illustrated. Selected methods for characterizing snow avalanche terrain and extreme snow avalanches will also be outlined.

The webinar will identify some aspects of snow avalanches that are different from other slope hazards such as debris flows, including:

  • explosives are effective triggers;
  • there are more occurrences;
  • impact forces are lower;
  • the failures initiate in a bonded material within a few degrees of its melting point; and
  • the deposits disappear within months.

The effects of these differences on assessment and/or mitigation methods will be illustrated.

Selected methods for characterizing snow avalanche terrain and extreme snow avalanches will also be outlined, including occurrence records, vegetation damage, statistical runout models, and dynamic runout models. Short examples of qualitative and quantitative assessment and mapping methods will be presented for work sites, transportation corridors, and forests. Examples of mitigation methods including structural defences and remote avalanche triggering systems will be presented.

Speakers

Bruce Jamieson, PhD, P.Eng.

Professor emeritus, Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta

Senior avalanche engineer, Snowline Associates Ltd., Calgary, Alberta

Bruce Jamieson has over 35 years of experience spanning snow avalanche risk management, hazard and risk assessment, snow and avalanche research, avalanche forecasting and avalanche control. He was president of the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA) from 1992 to 1995 and chaired the CAA’s Technical Committee until 2004. During the summers of 2002 and fall of 2008 he was a guest researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research. While a professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Calgary, Bruce supervised 24 graduate students investigating avalanche runout estimation, hazard mapping, avalanche forecasting, etc. Bruce has co-authored over 70 papers in ISI journals, plus over 100 conference papers. He is the first author and editor of Planning Methods for Assessing and Mitigating Snow Avalanche Risk. Bruce works as an avalanche consultant and engineer on projects for transportation corridors, pipelines, transmission lines, mines, ski lifts, residential developments, as well as backcountry huts and trail networks.

Dave Gauthier, PhD, P.Eng., P.Geo.

Senior Geological Engineer, BGC Engineering

Dave Gauthier, Ph.D., P.Eng., P.Geo. has experience and expertise in geohazard assessment and mitigation in a variety of settings. He holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, specializing in snow avalanche mechanics, and completed a Postdoctoral fellowship studying geohazard impacts on transportation corridors in Canada. Dr. Gauthier has written extensively on the snow avalanche phenomenon, avalanche accidents, and decision-making, and has experience inoperational avalanche forecasting and control for rail and highway corridors. He is a Professional Member of the Canadian Avalanche Association.


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