Using local historical data, the purpose of this paper is to compile a chronology of high‐magnitude snow avalanches to illustrate the effectiveness of information published in newspapers in assisting the management of natural hazards.
Major transportation lines parallel the southern boundary of Glacier National Park, Montana, USA, an area where snow avalanches occur frequently and occasionally block transportation corridors. A 1986 study presented an avalanche chronology for the study area based on information collected from the 1946 to 1982 issues of a local weekly newspaper. We extend that existing data set here by using the same newspaper, recording avalanche occurrences and impacts reported in the newspaper from 1982 to 2005.
The newly updated chronology is presented, with trends and temporal patterns for the entire 1946‐2005 data set analyzed. A decrease in reported avalanches, from the 1960s onward, is noted. Additionally, reported avalanches shifted from occurring most frequently in February to January in the last 20 years.
The results of this research illustrate the use of newspaper reports as an inexpensive, but effective, way to compile a chronology of high‐magnitude snow avalanches. This research method tends to underreport smaller magnitude events that do not affect the transportation linkages.
Snow avalanche managers could use this method to compile a chronology of events when other, more traditional techniques, are not available or too expensive.
This paper uses a rarely utilized but inexpensive and widely available data source to construct a 59‐year avalanche chronology in an area constantly threatened by snow avalanches.
Sawyer, C.F. and Butler, D.R. (2006), "A chronology of high‐magnitude snow avalanches reconstructed from archived newspapers", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 313-324. https://doi.org/10.1108/09653560610659856Download as .RIS
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