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PUBLICATION NOTICE: Analysis of Recent Support-Column Survey Results for the Elevated Facility at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

US Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Published July 8, 2019

The US Army Engineer Research and Development Center has published the report/note described and linked below. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

Report/Note Number:



Analysis of Recent Support-Column Survey Results for the Elevated Facility at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station


George Blaisdell, Jason Weale, and Lynette Barna


The snow-based foundation for the large elevated Station at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is continuously migrating (creep) away from the load imparted by structure’s support columns and grade beams.  Because of nonhomogeneities in the snow foundation, differential loads on each support column, and the facility’s approximately 10-year build-out and progressive-occupancy period, nonuniform settlement of columns is occurring.  The created differences in the tops of the columns, where the Station’s floor is attached, can cause serious structural damage and interfere with utilities. Following up on our previous (2006) review of the history of column settlement, this report incorporates essential ancillary measurements and assesses actual Station floor levelness.  We determine that past actions to mitigate differential column settlement by shimming at column tops has and continues to be adequate to maintain an acceptable floor levelness.  Further, we present a model for predicting future measures of floor levelness that can help facilitate decisions about when and what columns to shim to best preserve resources.  

42 pgs / 2.39 MB


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