BEIJING, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese scientists have analyzed the triggering factors of avalanches in northwest China to help provide early warnings and improve risk management in the region.
Transportation infrastructure in the Tianshan Mountains in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is often affected by avalanches, which cause traffic accidents every year. There is an urgent need to identify the trigger factors to improve road safety and preparedness for natural hazards.
Scientists from Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography under the Chinese Academy of Sciences conducted a seven-year observation of avalanches along national road G218 in the western Tianshan Mountains. They also collected meteorological, snowpack, and earthquake data.
The results showed that snowfall is the most common trigger factor for a natural avalanche and large-scale avalanches often occur when the snowfall exceeds 20.4 mm. A consecutive rise in temperature and earthquakes also have a significant impact on the formation of large-scale avalanches in the area.
The findings will help forecast avalanches to mitigate and assess the risk of disasters, according to the research team.
The research was published in the Journal of Mountain Science.