Articles | Volume 9, issue 2
Research article
27 Apr 2015
Research article |  | 27 Apr 2015

Influence of weak layer heterogeneity and slab properties on slab tensile failure propensity and avalanche release area

J. Gaume, G. Chambon, N. Eckert, M. Naaim, and J. Schweizer


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Short summary
Slab tensile failure propensity is examined using a mechanical--statistical model of the slab–-weak layer (WL) system based on the finite element method. This model accounts for WL heterogeneity, stress redistribution by elasticity of the slab and the slab possible tensile failure. For realistic values of the parameters, the tensile failure propensity is mainly driven by slab properties. Hard and thick snow slabs are more prone to wide–scale crack propagation and thus lead to larger avalanches.