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Science Fun: Avalanche

Here's a simple, hands on experiment that demonstrates the forces involved in an avalanche and how those forces work.

Supplies for this project:

a cardboard box cut in half corner to corner
mittens
cold water
snow

Directions for this project:

On a cold day place your cardboard peak flat on the ground. [Note: it shouldn't by a pyramid shape, but more like a swing set that has sides. This will give you a triangle on each end with flat sides connecting them.]

Wet the box and let it freeze with the peak towards the sky.

Once the first layer of water is completely frozen, wet it again to create a second and smother layer of ice.

Now let snow blanket the icy peak.

After you have a blanket of snow ... don't pack it own by hand as you won't get an even "snowfall" ... give your peak a soft bump.

Did the snow slide off all in one sheet? Did a section slide off in a sheet and leave some snow behind?

This is what happens in a real avalanche.

You can also watch this happen sometimes when a roof gets covered in snow. What happens when someone slams the door? You can see snow falling off the roof in sheets.

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