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We studied a triggered snow avalanche (∼60 s in duration and with ∼1,100 m run-out) using a network of infrasound arrays and time-synced video, with the objective of understanding the relationship between infrasound generation and flow dynamics. Using standard array processing techniques, we compared the infrasound source back azimuths with the avalanche flow path identified by frame-differenced, geo-referenced video. Results show that infrasound records begin with direct arrivals followed by echoes from the avalanche-triggering explosions and these decay within 35 s of the detonations. Subsequent infrasound, which lasts 20–30 s, could then be attributed exclusively to the avalanche. These infrasound detections, and their triangulated source locations, progress downhill over time and the most intense infrasound appears to originate from a steep, mid-path cliff band, where the avalanche reached speeds in excess of 30 m/s and accelerations of more than 5 m/s2. The recorded infrasound was compared to two candidate source models extracted from video: total flow motion and advancing flow motion. Advancing source locations were compared to acoustic intensity time series using a nonnegative least squares inversion to solve for, and to quantify, time-varying infrasound source intensity. We observed that certain portions of the flow, most notably the early stages and the end stages (when the powder cloud was expanding and settling) were infrasonically quiet.

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This document was originally published in JGR Earth Surface by Wiley on behalf of the American Geophysical Union. Copyright restrictions may apply.