Snow Movement - Drift Control for Surface (At-Grade) Camps


  • N.S. Stehle





Snowdrift studies made 1962-67 around an unprotected building and clusters of buildings at the US Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory camp on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, show that surface camps eventually become snow covered. Drift control measures to increase the usefulness and life of such camps are: 1) orient the buildings 45 degrees to the summer storm wind with the long axis parallel to the winter storm wind where these directions 45 degrees apart, where not, approach this arrangement as closely as possible; 2) place buildings far enough apart to avoid coalescence of drift (25 times the height); 3) treat equipment and material as a separate line of buildings for the same reason; 4) erect buildings on mobile foundations to move them easily when drift becomes a problem; 5) leave enough room for easy clearing of snow (60 ft needed by sizes 4 or 8 snow tractor). Small camps should be elevated on snow platforms when 5000 cu yd or less of snow are required; platform to be ~4 ft above snow surface for a 2-yr life in a region with snow accumulation of 1 ft or less/yr (the greater the accumulation the higher the platform). Because drift increases downwind of such an area, other buildings or supplies must not be closer than 10-30 times the height of the obstruction downwind (length of drift is at least 10 times the height of obstruction).