An Avalanche Dynamics Program for the Practice

Avalanche hazard maps are prepared by engineers and land use planners. These experts rely both on practical experience and calculation models to predict avalanche runout distances and flow velocities. Both dense flow and powder snow avalanche dynamics models are using sophisticated numerical schemes to track the motion of avalanches from initiation to runout. Since avalanche experts are seldom numerical specialists, the software must be stable and user-friendly and model limitations must be clearly communicated. AVAL-1D does meets these requirements. This program is intended to be used by avalanche practitioners to supplement the well-tested Voellmy-Salm model.

Program structure

AVAL-1D consists of three components: a one-dimensional flowing and a powder snow avalanche calculation module connected by a graphical user interface. One-dimensional refers to the fact that a single velocity component parallel to the avalanche track is used to describe the motion of both the flowing avalanche or powder snow saltation and suspension layers. The avalanche track is described by a two-dimensional topography with known width (flowing avalanches) or unit width (powder snow avalanches). The two avalanche models, FL-1D and SL-1D, were developed in C. The graphical user-interface was programmed in IDL (Interactive Data Language), a portable software for data analysis and visualization.


Bartelt, P., B. Salm and U. Gruber. (1999) Calculating dense-snow avalanche runout using a Voellmy-fluid model with active/passive longitudinal straining. Journal of Glaciology, 45, No. 150, 242-254.

Casteller, A., Christen, M., Villalba, R., Martínez, H., Stöckli, V., Leiva, J. C., & Bartelt, P. (2008). Validating numerical simulations of snow avalanches using dendrochronology: the Cerro Ventana event in Northern Patagonia, Argentina. Natural Hazards and Earth System Science, 8(3), 433-443. https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-8-433-2008Christen, M.; Bartelt, P.; Gruber, U., 2002: AVAL-1D: An Avalanche Dynamics Program for the Practice. In: International Congress Interpraevent 2002 in the Pacific Rim - Matsumo, Japan. Congress publication, volume 2: 715-725.

Issler, D. (1998) Modelling of snow entrainment and deposition in powder-snow avalanches. Annals of Glaciology, 26, 253-258.

Issler, D., P. Gauer and M. Barbolini. (1998) Continuum models of particle entrainment and deposition in snow drift and avalanche dynamics, In Balean, R., editor. Models of Continuum Mechanics in Analysis and Engineering. Proceedings of a conference held at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, September 30 to October 2, 1998. Achen - Maastricht, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Shaker Verlag.

Oller, P., Janeras, M., de Buen, H., Arnó, G., Christen, M., García, C., & Martínez, P. (2010). Using AVAL-1D to simulate avalanches in eastern Pyrenees. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 64(2), 190-198. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coldregions.2010.08.011

Norem, H. (1995) Shear stresses and boundary layers in snow avalanches. Technical Report 581240-3. Oslo, Norway, Norges Geotekniske Institutt.

Sartoris, G. and P. Bartelt. (2000) Upwinded Finite Difference Schemes for Dense Snow Avalanche Modeling. International Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids, 32, 799-821

Voellmy, A. (1955) Über die Zerstörungskraft von Lawinen. Schweizerische Bauzeitung, Jahrg. 73. Heft 12, 159 - 162, 15, 212 - 217, 17, 246 - 249, 19, 280-285.

How to buy a license

A (perpetual, lifelong) license of AVAL-1D costs

CHF 4000.- (excl. taxes)

Please contact us if you are interested in AVAL-1D. You can order a license by sending us an email, indicating

  • nr of licenses you want to buy
  • attach your license request file (download and install AVAL-1D, then create your license request file. The manual will tell you how to do that)
  • invoice address
  • your tax information for the invoice

We will then get in contact with you as soon as possible.