Snow Structure and Ski Fields

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OF all superficial deposits, that of snow is in its physical nature the most inhomogeneous and changeable, chiefly because it exists at temperatures so close to its melting point that melting, evaporation and sublimation are ever at work within the porous mass, modifying the characters of layers which were themselves distinctive when laid down. In consequence it is extremely difficult to predict the behaviour of snow on slopes, and losses in life and property due to avalanching are severe. Long experience has supplied a wealth of precepts to be followed by the wise snowcrafts-man, but the reasons for them are imperfectly understood. The properties of the snow are determined by those of ice at the temperature involved, by the shape of the individual grains, their degree of interlocking and the cohesive force uniting them, whilst a further important control may be exercised by the presence of water. Mr. Seligman seeks to interpret avalanche lore in the light of our knowledge of the structure of the snow on deposition and its transformations under varying conditions, and he paints a vivid picture of the complexity of the problem.

Snow Structure and Ski Fields

being an Account of Snow and Ice Forms met svith in Nature and a study on Avalanches and Snowcraft. By G. Seligman.; with an Appendix an Alpine Weather, by C. K. M. Douglas. Pp. xii + 555. (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1936.) 25s. net.

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