ICE AND SNOW TERRAIN FEATURES, McMURDO STATION, ANTARCTICA
NAVAL CIVIL ENGINEERING LAB PORT HUENEME CA
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Movement of the McMurdo Lobe of the Ross Ice Shelf causes pressure ridges, crevasses, and periodic calving that requires careful selection of runway sites and road routes to assure safe and long-term operations. Movement of the ice shelf between Pram Point and Williams Field varies from 230 to 281 feet per year. The probable critical thickness beyond which the ice shelf does not calve varies between 90 to 100 feet west of Williams Field to 50 or 60 feet near Pram Point. Hidden subsurface melt pools occur in the glacier ice at Outer Williams Field and, during summer, seriously hamper trafficability of the alternate ice runway at this location. Dangerous sea ice conditions are caused by late-season differential thinning and deterioration, seal breathing holes, hidden slush zones in deep snow, pressure ridges and flooded, downwarped areas of ice in the embayment south of McMurdo Station. Sea-ice-to-land and sea-ice- to-ice shelf ramps require almost constant repair to maintain the necessary over-ice road network.
- Snow, Ice and Permafrost
- Civil Engineering