Settlement of a Foundation on a Permanent, Deep Snowpack
ENGINEERING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER HANOVER NH COLD REGIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING LAB
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The U.S. Antarctic Program is nearing completion of a nine-year project to reconstruct its primary facility at the South Pole. The new building is elevated and jackable to accommodate bulk and differential settlement into the snowpack. The buildings foundation consists of rigidly connected grade beams from which 36 columns extend upward 13 ft 4 m to support the state-of-the-art living and scientific facility. A limit of 2 in. 50 mm was established as the maximum allowable elevation difference between adjacent columns to avoid structural damage to the interior of the building. Routine maintenance is required to level and shim columns when settlement limits are near. This report analyzes settlement data for the facility from November 2000 until January 2005. Settlement data so far match the pattern shown in the literature for laboratory tests of static loads on snow. Extrapolation from the most recent 12 months of survey data was used to predict the future elevations of each column for the next several years, leading to recommendations for leveling activities for the coming field season. Predictions of long-term jacking requirements based on the South Pole data match the original design estimates for the theoretical life span of 45 years.
- Structural Engineering and Building Technology