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Tree Wells

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
This may seem like a gaper question but I was wondering what exactly forms tree wells. Is it anything more than wind building snow around the base of tree while the snow immediately next to the trees is absorbed/melted by the tree? What causes the large changes in snow depth? I'm sure I could look it up or maybe even find the answer through a forum search but I figured this would give others like myself (bored) something to do at 1:00am if they happened to know the answer. Thanks
post #2 of 5
As it was explained to me, the wind slows down as it approaches the tree, and is diverted around it. This effect causes more snow to fall at a slight distance from the tree as the air slows.
You can see the same thing at the base of buildings in some storms; one wall will be bare along the ground, with a huge drift a few feet away.

This also happens with sand in water along beaches; as the water slows down it drops a lot of sand a few yards offshore; you can swim past the deep part, put your feet down and stand on the bottom.
Harbors silt up for the same reason; a fast moving river slows down as it comes up against the pressure of the water in the harbor, and drops all the soil it was carrying, slowly filling the harbor up.
post #3 of 5
Everything you need to know is here.
post #4 of 5
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
Everything you need to know is here.
Including how to lose some weight, make a lot of money and get into heaven?
Think I'll save that link for when I'm truly ready to learn EVERYTHING I need to know. For now I'll limit myself to bite-sized pieces.
post #5 of 5
We had a thread on this last year in

January 08 http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=65745

January 07: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=50327

March 07: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=66413

December 06 http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?p=608878

March 06 http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=35307

My favorite from March 06 http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=39032

Always a good topic because they are quietly lurking just below the surface and probably kill as many or more skiers as avalanches. They are formed under the branches of trees that touch the ground, and are more likely in a stand of fir than pine. The branches shed most of the snow to the outside away from the tree, but the center is filled with very light unconsolidated snow among the branches. They are most hazardous when filled with sugary cold snow, not to be confused with the cones around trees in the spring that form from long-wave radiation melting. A victim that falls in head first finds nothing to support their weight, and they fall into the center of the well near the trunk. With skis or a board on their feet, they are suspended and the light snow falls around their head and is inhaled forming a plug. If you don't have a clear breathing space, you will be unable to inhale, and this usually starts a panic reaction. Without air you may have as little as 30 seconds to a couple minutes to deal with the situation, particularly considering high altitude and exertion.
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