Analysis of Mountain Relief for the Causes of Snow Avalanches

Keywords: avalanche, mountainous terrain, relief, illumination, slope, forest, geoinformation technologies, visualization


The descent of avalanches is quite a usual phenomenon for the Ukrainian Carpathians, as well as for the conditions of mountain terrain in general. The Gorgany range of the Carpathian mountains is a typical avalanche-prone territory. Avalanches cause significant damage to forestry and may lead to casualties. Therefore, descent of avalanches has for a long time been a subject of fundamental research in geomorphology, meteorology, topography, photogrammetry and GIS technologies. Using photogrammetric mapping, we analyzed the causes of the descent of one of the largest avalanches in the Ukrainian Carpathians for the past 15 years. The avalanche fell from Poliensky mountain in the Gorgany mountain range in 2006, causing destruction of a great amount of forest. The main causes of avalanches were divided into two groups, the first including more or less stable factors caused by impact of terrain and somewhat less by solar radiation and the second group comprising meteorological factors, such as prolonged snowstorms and snowfall, that is, different fluctuations in weather. The main attention was paid to the first group of factors. For this purpose, a digital terrain model (DTM) of the study area was developed, visualizing the terrain, demonstrating the studied slope of the mountain along which the avalanche slid. According to the digital model, we developed maps of the steepness andexposition of the slope. Also we calculated the coefficient for solar radiation incident on the slope and which depends on the height of the Sun above the horizon and the coordinates of the slope. Using these data, the illuminance map of the Poliensky mountain area was developed. Studies conducted using GIS technologies led to the conclusion that the determining factors that triggered the powerful avalanche from Poliensky mountain were the great steepness and length of the slope, as well as the absence of forest at the top of the mountain, i.e. at the beginning of the avalanche track.

Author Biographies

Roman M. Rudyi
Uman National University of Horticulture, Uman
Yuriy O. Kyselov
Uman National University of Horticulture, Uman
Halyna T. Domashenko
Uman National University of Horticulture, Uman
Olena Y. Kravets
Ivano-Frankivsk National Oil and Gas Technical University, Ivano-Frankivsk
Kateryna D. Husar
Ivano-Frankivsk National Oil and Gas Technical University, Ivano-Frankivsk


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How to Cite
Rudyi, R., Kyselov, Y., Domashenko, H., Kravets, O., & Husar, K. (2020). Analysis of Mountain Relief for the Causes of Snow Avalanches. Journal of Geology, Geography and Geoecology, 29(4), 789-795.