Imaging of avalanches in granular materials

Michael Bretz, Jevne B. Cunningham, Peter L. Kurczynski, Franco Nori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Dry, noncohesive granular materials were very slowly driven to the threshold of instability where they produced avalanches. We have used digital image analysis to record avalanches that occurred on the surface of the incline. Results show large slides every 1013 min which reset the surface from the maximum angle of stability, c, back to the angle of repose, r. We also find a power-law distribution of sizes for smaller avalanches occurring between the large sliding events. The number of these small avalanches follows a power-law dependence on the reduced angle, (c-)/(c-r), or time, which demonstrates that c behaves like a critical point.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2431-2434
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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