Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences Department
BS in Earth Sciences
As winter recreational activities increase in mountainous environments, the need for a better understanding of snow avalanches is necessary. This project consists of a study into the physical factors that contribute to slab avalanche formation, and a GIS analysis of an avalanche prone area within the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The primary physical factors that contribute to the conditions that lead to avalanches include the slope of a mountain face, the aspect, and bare ground conditions lacking thick forest vegetation. ArcGIS is a powerful software tool that was used to map each of these factors, and then combine them to create a detailed digital map that displays avalanche hazard zones across the mountain slopes. The map and associated data may be used by administrators and planners for consideration in future development and recreational projects.