Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences Department

Degree Name

BS in Earth Sciences




William Preston


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.

Project_Area.pdf (1069 kB)
Project Study Area

Final_Avalanche_Hazard_Map.pdf (4924 kB)
Final Avalanche Hazard Map

Hazard_NAIP_Overlay.pdf (10315 kB)
High Resolution NAIP Imagery with Hazard Overlay