We describe a penetration field-portable capacitance instrument capabl
e of recording profiles of dielectric permittivity through a relativel
y dry snow pack. It consists of a wedged capacitance tip mounted at th
e end of a penetration pole. By appropriate placement of its reference
, guard and sensor conductive surfaces, the capacitor sheds horizontal
electric field lines resolving horizontal snow layers of 2.5-mm thick
ness. A prototype of the probe was tested at the mountain resort of Al
ta near Salt Lake City, Utah. There, it recorded the real and imaginar
y parts of the dielectric constant through a typical winter snow pack.
Using independent calibrations, measurements of the dielectric modulu
s provided an accurate profile of density later confirmed by the excav
ation of a detailed snow cover profile. (C) 1998 Published by Elsevier
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