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From: (Gerald L. Hurst)
Newsgroups: alt.engr.explosives,rec.pyrotechnics
Subject: Re: Snow Removal by Blasting?
Date: 8 Jan 1996 19:02:22 GMT

In article <4cr9a2$>, (xopher) says:

>Something to think about if you're in snow country... 
>Have explosives been used successfully for removing deep snow? Would
>under-one pound charges of black powder release enough energy to put a
>foot-high snowbank back up in the air whence it came? If anyone has
>seen or heard of explosives used safely for snow removal please reply
>This would be a bad idea anywhere there is potential for an avalanche.

There wouldn't be much point in blating deep snow. You'd get a
crater with a lot of the blasted material falling back into the
hole. You might base your figuring on earth blasting. A 500 pound
bomb containing about 200 pounds of explosive blows about a 30
foot diameter crater perhaps 11 feet deep in loose soil.

Avalanche control is another thing. Explosives have been widely 
used to induce deliberate avalanches when snow accumulation
presents a potential hazard. In the ild days, the guys in the 
ski patrol would literally ski along tossing dynamite on the fly.

There was also a device called the "Avalauncher" which worked 
like the compressed air vegetable cannons the teenybombers have
been discussing in this NG and rec.pyro lately. Nitrogen at
75-300 psi was used to hurl finned explosive projectiles a mile
or more from the bed of a pick-up truck or the like. 

The projectiles were over a foot in length and carried about
a kilogram of HE. I don't know if the units are still in use
since an accident a few years back which claimed the lives
of an entire crew who were clustered around a cannon when a
premature explosion occurred. Sadly, they had been removing
a safety pin device from the projectiles trying to solve a problem
of duds.

The ski patrol also had a serious accident during a period when
there was no US made black powder available for safety fuse. Thay
purchased Canadian safety fuse which had a core of uncoated and
therefore electrically conductive powder. A static spark, common
in snowy areas, jumped to and through the core of a foot or more 
of safety fuse to the match mixture in the fuse cap, resulting in
detonation of the dynamite.

Jerry (Ico)

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