Crystal-morphology and Evolution of Snow Cover: Empirical Modeling on the Base of Symmetry Theory

Erland. G. Kolomyts


Snow cover is represented as a natural community of the shapes of growing crystals interacting with each other and exposed to environmental influences. It is worked out the empirical deterministic models describing the sublimation-metamorphic cycle of seasonal snow cover and the polymorphic variants of this cycle. The main driving force of processes yielding an evolutionary row of crystals are internal interactions within a snow pack. For all that the factor of time (the age of genetic player) plays a crucial role in sublimation metamorphism. Stadiality of the forms of crystal growth and self-development snow layers are revealed. They are a result of successive process of superposition of ice crystal-chemical symmetry and dissymmetry of the whole system soil–snow–atmosphere, according to the known P. Curie principle.

Crystal-morphological classification for season snow is worked out by author on the base of the given an account evolutionary model. Two categories of crystal shapes have been picked out: classes and types of forms. The first category reflects the invariant aspect of snow sublimation metamorphism and the second one – the hydrothermal conditions of this process in each layer of the snow pack.

Evolution of snow pack structure is conditioned to a marked degree by probabilistic conformity to natural laws, manifesting themselves in the processes of auto-regulation of metamorphism. These processes include the two types of regulation: the self-regulation of snow layers, on the one hand, and their regulation from outside – under the influence of atmospheric perturbations, on the other hand. An analysis of the processes of auto-regulation of metamorphism is capable of rendering a substantial service in the development of methods of short- and long-term forecasting of the avalanches. Crystal-morphological structure of snow cover may be considered also as a “quickly running” model of many evolutionary biosphere processes.

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Journal of Geography and Geology   ISSN 1916-9779 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9787 (Online)

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