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Fig. 1

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Schematic description of the avalanche process. First, a large body is shattered in the inner region of the planetary system, releasing very small unbound grains that are blown out by radiation pressure. Then these small grains penetrate an outer disc located further away from the star. There they will collide, at very high velocities, with “native” target grains, producing a new generation of small unbound grains, which will also be blown out and collide with other target grains in the disc, creating new fragments that will again collide with targets further out in the disc, etc. If the main disc is dense enough, this chain reaction can produce an excess of small grains largely exceeding the amount initially produced by the breakup.

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