Dry snow metamorphism
Dry snow metamorphism is the process whereby the structure of a snowpack changes due both to diffusion, leading to sintering of adjacent crystals, and to vapor pressure gradients, which produce vapor flow and the growth of large crystals. A series of laboratory experiments are being performed using both natural snow and laboratory-grown ice spheres under carefully-controlled conditions to elucidate the underlying physics of the effects of temperature, temperature gradients, impurities and overburden on the mechanisms of dry snow metamorphism. The microstructure of the snow as it undergoes metamorphism is also being related to its mechanical properties. The microstructural characterization involves the use of both a cold stage equipped scanning electron microscope and a cold adapted micro X-ray computed tomography unit.
Faculty contact: Ian Baker