Application of capacitance instrumentation to the measurement of density and velocity of flowing snow

Michel Y. Louge, Roland Steiner, Stephen C. Keast, Rand Decker, James Dent, Martin Schneebeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


We describe capacitance instrumentation suitable for the measurement of density and velocity of flowing snow with moderate liquid-phase water content. A wand, consisting of two adjacent sensors protected by guard circuits, produces signals that are related to snow density through calibration. Cross-correlation of the signals permits velocity measurements. Calibration is accomplished using a capacitance device that records the dielectric properties of a snow sample while subjecting it to controlled levels of compaction and volume change. Non-invasive probe geometries are also presented. The instrumentation is tested in artificial and natural avalanches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-63
Number of pages17
JournalCold Regions Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997



  • Avalanche
  • Dielectric properties
  • Electrical methods
  • Measurement
  • Snow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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