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Snowmelt and slushflows: hydrological and hazard implications

  • Martin Gude (a1) and Dieter Scherer (a2)
Abstract

In many high-latitude areas, slushflows occur frequently during the snowmelt period but information on the initiation mechanism is rare. Field observations and measurements of slushflows in northwestern Spitsbergen and in northern Sweden demonstrate the role of meltwater accumulation and the hydraulic pressure gradient in the release process. Snow metamorphism is revealed to be of minor importance in the observed events. The monitoring of water-pressure development in a saturated snow cover demonstrates that preferred release areas are within low-gradient valley sections, where meltwater inflow is higher than outflow.

Slushflows consist of mudflow-like flowage of water-saturated snow along stream courses. They represent transitional processes between fluvial floods and avalanches. On the other hand, they possess unique characteristics concerning release and movement. The comparative evaluation of definition items for fluvial floods, slushflows and avalanches offers hasic data suitable for a risk assessment.

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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
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