Snow Cornice

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Snow Cornice is a Snow drift feature that forms along a break in slope, typically along ridgelines in exposed mountain areas. These can range from less than one meter to tens of meters in width and depth and from a few meters to more than a kilometer in length. Cornices can present serious hazards to mountain travelers including climbers, skiers, hikers, and snowmobilers.
Snow Cornice is a Snow drift feature that forms along a break in slope, typically along ridgelines in exposed mountain areas. These can range from less than one meter to tens of meters in width and depth and from a few meters to more than a kilometer in length. Cornices can present serious hazards to mountain travelers including climbers, skiers, hikers, and snowmobilers.


Snow Cornice is a Snow drift feature that forms along a break in slope, typically along ridgelines in exposed mountain areas. These can range from less than one meter to tens of meters in width and depth and from a few meters to more than a kilometer in length.

Cornices can present serious hazards to mountain travelers including climbers, skiers, hikers, and snowmobilers.

Wind blowing up a mountain slope can transport a mass of snow through several means, including: suspension, surface creep (rolling and sliding), as well as saltation (bouncing or skipping).

As the wind passes over a rapid change in slope, such as a ridgeline, the air diverges and the velocity is reduced. This reduction in velocity reduces the transport capacity of the wind and so a portion of the drifting snow is deposited, thus forming the cornice.

The cornice grows in the lee direction of the prevailing winds and overhangs the underlying slope. The size and shape of these features is dependent on the local geography and vegetative cover of the windward slopes, as well as the snow depth, density, and cohesiveness, combined with the wind speed, direction, and duration.

[edit] Also see

[edit] Reference:

  • HydroWiki Snow Cornice [1]
  • Wikipedia Snow Cornice [2]



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