Both snow and mud can move large amounts, quickly and with a destructive effect. The natural phenomenon with these characteristics is an avalanche. In relation to animals or humans, an avalanche occurs when a large number of individuals are abruptly moved from one place to another. This movement is associated with some risk or potential danger.
The word avalanche has some synonyms like allude or avalanche in the field of geology. In relation to men and animals, it can be synonymous with stampede.
This phenomenon is the result of heavy rains in a mountainous area with a steep slope on the terrain. In this way, the excessive accumulation of water in the land causes the mountainous slopes to lose their stability and, as a result , they detach from the earth of their main crust and accumulate a lot of mud in the form of an avalanche.
Its consequences can be diverse: falling trees, devastation of plantations or destruction of inhabited areas by the devastating effect of the mud. On occasion, this type of displacement causes death and destruction, as well as economic and environmental losses.
Snow layers in mountainous areas are in balance, if the weight of the snow and the type of slope present any counterweight or resistance (for example, the cohesion of the snow itself). This balance can disappear for some reason, such as heavy snowfall or the force of the wind.
When an imbalance occurs, an avalanche of snow is triggered. This phenomenon occurs at high speed and its effects are devastating.
Avalanches in animals and humans
In the animal world, migratory phenomena occur periodically. It involves a large number of animals that travel great distances in order to find food and a milder climate . Large herds can have all sorts of destructive effects (for example, on crops or in relation to some human settlement).
There are human agglomerations where social upheaval and violence ends up producing an uncontrolled displacement of people. When this happens, there is talk of a human avalanche. This term is used to describe events that eventually turn into catastrophes of various natures.
Although the term avalanche is frequently used to describe the migratory movements of animals or in tragic situations as a result of large human agglomerations, it is more appropriate to use the term stampede.