Natural Hazards

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 129–145 | Cite as

Two-phase Numerical Model of Powder Avalanche Theory and Application

  • Mohamed Naaim
  • Ibrahim Gurer


In this paper the powder snow avalanche is considered as a two-phase flow (air and snow particles). The equations governing this flow are the fluid mechanics conservation laws. The mass and the momentum conservation are considered for each phase. The interaction between the two phases takes into account the drag force between the particle and the air. Owing to high turbulence in the powder flow, a closure model was used based on a modified k - ε model in order to take into account the reduction of turbulence energy by the particles. The dense avalanche is modeled using the shallow water equations. The formation and the development of the powder avalanche is modeled using a mass and momentum exchanges between the powder flow and the dense flow. The flow area is digitized horizontally and vertically using a finite elements mesh. The numerical scheme is obtained by integrating the equations on each cell. The model thus built was calibrated using laboratory measurements of density current carried out in a flume. The model was successfully applied to reproduce many avalanches observed in France. At the end of this paper, an application of this model to an engineering case study is presented. It concerns the Uzengili path where an avalanche occurred in 1993. In this paper we use the integrated dense/powder avalanche model to define the effect of a powder avalanche flow in this path. Different simulations allow display of maps of the exposed zones for different available snow depths in the starting zone. The results were mapped in terms of dynamic pressure field and recommendations are proposed to the local authorities.

natural hazard mitigation snow avalanche powder avalanche physical modeling numerical modeling avalanche mapping 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed Naaim
    • 1
  • Ibrahim Gurer
    • 2
  1. 1.CEMAGREF, Division NivologieSaint Martin d'HéresFrance. e-mail
  2. 2.Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Department of Civil Engineering, MaltepeGazi UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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