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Glossary Index

Avalanche Institute


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Snow Pit

Also: Quick Pit, Hasty Pit, Data Pit

A hole dug in the snow-cover to expose the vertical stratigraphy. Weak layers and slabs can be indentified, hardnesses tested and recorded, and stability tests performed.

The amount of time invested in, and the details obtained from, a snowpit can vary greatly.

In many cases "hasty pits" provide quick bottom-line information and can quickly be done at a variety of locations reflecting conditions at different elevations and on different aspects. These are often dug near the starting zone of an avalanche path, to quickly determine instability by locating any potential slab structures.

At the other end of the spectrum, operations typically perform full "data pits" in a consistent study plot location in order to follow and record in detail the development of the snowpack over time.

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