What is Avalanche?

Meaning and Definition of Avalanche

Avalanche can refer to both snow and mud that move in large quantities and quickly, with enormous destructive effect.

The natural phenomenon with these characteristics is an avalanche. In relation to animals or humans, an avalanche occurs when a large number of individuals suddenly move from one place to another. This movement is associated with some risk or potential danger.

The word avalanche has some synonyms such as landslides or landslides in the field of geology. In relation to humans and animals it can be synonymous with stampede .

Types of Avalanches

mud flow

This phenomenon is the result of heavy rains in a mountainous area with a steep slope in the terrain. In this way, the excessive accumulation of water in the earth causes the slopes of the mountains to lose their stability and as a consequence they detach from the earth of its main crust and accumulate a lot of mud in the form of an avalanche .

Its consequences can be diverse: falling trees, devastation of plantations or destruction of inhabited areas due to the devastating effect of mud. On some occasions, this type of displacement causes death and destruction, as well as economic and environmental losses.

Snow avalanche

Snow layers in mountainous areas are in equilibrium if the weight of the snow and the type of slope show some counterbalance or resistance (for example, the cohesion of the snow itself). This balance can be thrown off for some reason, such as heavy snowfall or the force of the wind.

When an imbalance occurs , a snow avalanche is triggered . This phenomenon occurs at great speed and its effects are devastating.

Avalanche and Stampede

There is talk of a stampede when migratory phenomena occur periodically in the animal world . These are a large number of animals that travel long distances to find food and a milder climate. Large herds can have all kinds of destructive effects (eg on plantations or in relation to human settlements).

There are human settlements where social unrest and violence end up producing an uncontrolled displacement of people. When this happens, there is talk of a human avalanche . This term is used to describe events that ultimately develop into disasters of various kinds.

Although the term avalanche is often used to describe migratory movements of animals or in tragic situations as a result of large human settlements, the term stampede is more appropriately used 

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