Articles | Volume 9, issue 5
Research article
08 Oct 2015
Research article |  | 08 Oct 2015

Modeling of crack propagation in weak snowpack layers using the discrete element method

J. Gaume, A. van Herwijnen, G. Chambon, K. W. Birkeland, and J. Schweizer

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Cited articles

Auld, B. A.: Acoustic fields and waves in solids, Ripol Classic, 1973.
Bair, E. H., Simenhois, R., Birkeland, K., and Dozier, J.: A field study on failure of storm snow slab avalanches, Cold Reg. Sci. Technol., 79, 20–28, 2012.
Bair, E. H., Simenhois, R., van Herwijnen, A., and Birkeland, K.: The influence of edge effects on crack propagation in snow stability tests, The Cryosphere, 8, 1407–1418,, 2014.
Birkeland, K., van Herwijnen, A., Knoff, E., Staples, M., Bair, E., and Simenhois, R.: The role of slab and weak layers in fracture arrest, edited by: Haegeli, P., International Snow Science Workshop, Banff, Alberta, 156–163, 2014.
Camborde, F., Mariotti, C., and Donzé, F.: Numerical study of rock and concrete behaviour by discrete element modelling, Comput. Geotech., 27, 225–247, 2000.
Short summary
We proposed a new approach to characterize the dynamic phase of crack propagation in weak snowpack layers as well as fracture arrest propensity by means of numerical "propagation saw test" simulations based on the discrete element method. Crack propagation speed and distance before fracture arrest were derived from the simulations for different snowpack configurations and mechanical properties. Numerical and experimental results were compared and the mechanical processes at play were discussed.