Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type



Mathematics, Engineering & Computer Science


The number of people heading into the backcounrty in winter is increasing every year. This increase in travel heightens the risk for human injury due to avalanches, a powerful natural event. The Kulikovskiy-Sveshnikova-Beghin (KSB) avalanche model uses ordinary differential equations for volume, mass, and momentum to model the major characteristics of powder snow avalanches. Although the KSB model has its shortcomings, it provides useful insight into the behavior of avalanches without significant computational cost. The KSB model may predict unrealistically high densities if the snow being entrained is deep and/or high-density. After re-deriving the KSB equations, using Turnbull [4] as a guide, the model will be applied to popular backcountry ski locations in the Helena, MT area. The various slide paths are evaluated using snow conditions observed in the winter of 2013.