Snow crystal micrograph (c) SLF
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Snow x-rays help avalanche science

The 2013-2014 season has been particularly deadly in the Alps in terms of avalanches, with 13 fatalities in Switzerland alone so far.

Researchers from Europe's centre for avalanche forecasting - the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research - are employing new technology to improve their chances of predicting and preventing these disasters.

Here, snow physicist Dr Martin Schneebeli explains how examining snow with x-rays helps reveal how it changes over time to cause avalanche-triggering weak layers.