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Six avalanche myths debunked by the Utah Avalanche Center


Six avalanche myths debunked by the Utah Avalanche Center

Watch | Winter is in full swing and avalanche centers have issued warnings throughout the west coast.  How much do you know about surviving being buried alive? Probably less than you think.

Luckily, the Utah Avalanche Center is debunking these avalanche myths: 

 "Loud noises trigger avalanches"

The UAC states that "noise does NOT trigger avalanches." It is simply a myth that never dies. Noise doesn't have enough force unless it's an incredibly loud noise, such as an explosion. Low flying helicopters or sonic booms would only trigger avalanches in very weak conditions, in which the avalanches would occur naturally. 

"An Avalanche is a bunch of loose snow sliding down the mountain"

Experts claim that "loose snow avalanches" only account for a small ratio of property damage and deaths. An avalanche is defined as 'slabs or cohesive plates of snow that shatter like a pane of glass and slide as a unit off the mountainside.' 

Avalanches "strike without warning"

The UAC reports that, "Avalanches don't strike. They happen at particular times and places for specific reasons. 90 percent of all avalanches are usually prompted by the victim or someone in their party."

Avalanches are caused by new or blasted snow that weakens layers, or from rapid temperature increases. 

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"If you see an avalanche coming, get out of the way" 

At 80 mph, it's nearly impossible. Even if you're on a snowmobile, it's still unlikely that you would beat the oncoming snow.

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"All the avalanche experts are dead" 

Very few avalanche experts ever get killed in an avalanche. "Less than one percent of all avalanche fatalities involve avalanche professionals."

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"Spit to see which way is up"

If you're buried in an avalanche, it is nearly impossible to dig yourself out. It's almost like you are encased in concrete and the only the way out is to be rescued.
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