From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"You have no need to have read Payne Knight, or Louis Viardot, or John Ruskin, to be able to understand Mont Blanc. The Grands Mulets and the Mer de Glace would interest the merest clodhopper. This is the reason why Switzerland is with travellers an universal favourite. You can’t wrangle about the conflict of styles in a precipice; the odium theologicum has nothing to lay hold of in an avalanche."--Rome and Venice: With Other Wanderings in Italy, in 1866-7 (1869) by George Augustus Sala
An avalanche (also called a snowslide or snowslip) is a rapid flow of snow down a sloping surface. Avalanches are typically triggered in a starting zone from a mechanical failure in the snowpack (slab avalanche) when the forces on the snow exceed its strength but sometimes only with gradually widening (loose snow avalanche). After initiation, avalanches usually accelerate rapidly and grow in mass and volume as they entrain more snow. If the avalanche moves fast enough some of the snow may mix with the air forming a powder snow avalanche, which is a type of gravity current.