Real Snow Avalanche

Posted by: on Dec 18, 2012 | No Comments

Here’s a simple, hands-on experiment for a freezing day when it’s actually snowing, that demonstrates the forces involved in an avalanche and how those forces work.

You Will Need

a cardboard box cut in half corner to corner



On a cold day place your cardboard ‘mountain peak’ flat on the ground. [Note: it shouldn't by a pyramid shape, but more like a swing that has sides. This will give you a triangle on each end with flat sides connecting them.]

Wet the box and let it freeze with the peak towards the sky.

Once the first layer of water is completely frozen, wet it again to create a second and smother layer of ice.

Now let snow blanket the icy peak.

After you have a blanket of snow … don’t pack it down by hand as you won’t get an even “snowfall” … give your peak a soft bump.

What’s Happening?


Did the snow slide off all in one sheet? Did a section slide off in a sheet and leave some snow behind?

This is what happens in a real avalanche.

You can also watch this happen sometimes when a roof gets covered in snow. What happens when someone slams the door? You can see snow falling off the roof in sheets.


Have Fun!



Thanks to, and adapted from,