ABSTRACT. The evaluation of avalanche release depths constitutes a great challenge for risk assessment in mountainous areas. This study focuses on slab avalanches, which generally result from the rupture of a weak layer underlying a cohesive slab. We use the finite-element code Cast3M to build a mechanical model of the slab/weak-layer system, taking into account two key ingredients for the description of avalanche release: weak-layer heterogeneity and stress redistribution via slab elasticity. The system is l…
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