Ice and Medicine at the end of the earth

2. When glaciers move, can it ruin the integrity of your headquarters?

Ryan,

Thanks for checking in!

The flow of glaciers can ruin structures built on them. This can happen in two ways. One is that the station can get buried in snow. Since the South Pole is so cold, the snow doesn’t melt, it just accumulates year after year. So if you build your foundation on the snow, the next year it will be about 20 cm under the new surface. That’s why the South Pole station is built on stilts. Here’s a photo from my window.

stilts

The second way glacier flow can ruin a building is if the building is on a fast flowing glacier. At one spot in Antarctica, they have had to build five stations since the ice keeps pushing the base in to the ocean.

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