On 7 March 2017, a huge avalanche ripped through the Sionne Valley in the Swiss Alps. Like a runaway train whose carriages got separated on departure, the monster snow cloud tore downhill in numerous parallel lines, racing towards an end point some two-and-a-half kilometres away. This was the largest, most powerful avalanche in the Sionne valley in 11 years, carrying around 100,000 tonnes of snow downhill. A mass of tumbling snow travelling at this velocity — up to 300 km h−1 — can cause untold damage, tearing up trees, flattening buildings and burying innocent bystanders.
The March 2017 event did none of that. Instead, triggered by explosives dropped from a helicopter, this avalanche was an experiment, meticulously planned and monitored in what is now the world’s largest avalanche research site.
Read the full article, published in Nature Climate Change, here: https://rdcu.be/bajCs