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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Avalanche'

Avalanche Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    avalanche n
  1. a slide of large masses of snow and ice and mud down a mountain
  2. a sudden appearance of an overwhelming number of things; "the program brought an avalanche of mail" v : of snow masses in the mountains [syn: roll down]
Avalanche Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Avalanche \Av"a*lanche`\ (?; 277), n. [F. avalanche, fr. avaler to descend, to let down, from aval down, downward; ? (L. ad) + val, L. vallis, valley. See Valley.]
  1. A large mass or body of snow and ice sliding swiftly down a mountain side, or falling down a precipice.
  2. A fall of earth, rocks, etc., similar to that of an avalanche of snow or ice.
  3. A sudden, great, or irresistible descent or influx of anything.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Avalanche'

An avalanche is a rapid flow of snow down a slope, from either natural triggers or human activity. Typically occurring in mountainous terrain, an avalanche can mix air and water with the descending snow. Powerful avalanches have the capability to entrain ice, rocks, trees, and other material on the slope. Avalanches are primarily composed of flowing snow, and are distinct from mudslides, rock slides, and serac collapses on an icefall. In mountainous terrain avalanches are among the most serious objective hazards to life and property, with their destructive capability resulting from their potential to carry an enormous mass of snow rapidly over large distances.

Avalanches are classified by their morphological characteristics, and are rated by either their destructive potential, or the mass of the downward flowing snow. Some of the morphological characteristics used to classify avalanches include the type of snow involved, the nature of the failure, the sliding surface, the propagation mechanism of the failure, the trigger of the avalanche, the slope angle, direction, and elevation. Avalanche size, mass, and destructive potential are rated on a logarithmic scale, typically made up of 4 to 7 categories, with the precise definition of the categories depending on the observation system or forecast region.

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'Avalanche' in famous quotation sentence

* No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible. - George Burns

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