ERDC-CRREL moves garage, sets up monitoring in Greenland

Published Oct. 6, 2017
ERDC-CRREL moves garage, sets up monitoring in Greenland

A D7E bulldozer pulls the roughly 200,000-pound Summit Mobile Garage facility a quarter mile to its new long-term location, a compacted snow foundation that has been wired to monitor heat loss and building settlement. Polar Researcher Jason Weale, U.S. Army ERDC’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, provided assistance to the National Science Foundation on this effort.

SUMMIT STATION, Greenland (Oct. 2, 2017) -- Polar Engineer and Arctic Engineering Program Manager Jason Weale, with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, and Intern Emma Menio, recently completed a deployment to Summit Station, Greenland, in support of the National Science Foundation’s Arctic Research Support and Logistics Program.

The pair departed Scotia, New York, onboard the Air National Guard’s 109th Air Wing ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft headed for Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, with an overnight refueling stop in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada. The next day, Weale and Menio flew the remaining 450 nautical miles to Summit Station at the apex of the Greenland Ice Sheet (10,500 feet).

At Summit, the CRREL team assisted the NSF and its field staff with the move and long-term monitoring of the Summit Mobile Garage facility from its temporary winter snow berm to a more compacted snow foundation. The SMG, weighing roughly 200,000 pounds, was moved approximately a quarter mile to its long-term, compacted snow foundation using sled technology developed by CRREL researchers.

Prior to moving the mobile garage, Weale and Menio installed temperature sensors in the snow foundation of the garage’s new home.
“After installing the thermocouple strings in the foundation, we placed individual thermocouples inside the structure and wired everything to a datalogger that will record temperatures over the entirety of the SMG’s lifespan at its new location,” Weale said.

The sensors enable researchers to monitor long-term heat loss through the floor and potentially help identify and mitigate building settlement from increased snow foundation temperatures. Researchers can access the data remotely from Summit Station’s information technology network and make it available to the CRREL team and to the Summit community.

“Our Greenland deployment to Summit Station on behalf of NSF was a success by any measure,” said Weale.

“The new Summit Mobile Garage facility was moved to its new compacted snow foundation quickly, safely and with minimal interruption to service. Installing the equipment will aid researchers and the Summit community year round.”

CRREL is one of seven laboratories of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, headquartered in Vicksburg, Mississippi.