This additional distance would extend a round-
dependent on LC-130 support, airdrop, or traverse
trip traverse from the South Pole to about nine
from McMurdo. Use of LC-130s would greatly
days. To deliver all the cargo and equipment nec-
reduce the support available for science during
essary in the time available, several more tractors
the construction period, and might significantly
would be needed.
extend the time required to build the new station.
Development of a compacted-snow
Other blue-ice runways for
runway at the South Pole Station
science support and enhancing safety
A wheeled-aircraft runway at the South Pole
Swithinbank (1991) reviewed approximately
Station would be the most desirable option from
27,000 aerial photographs of Antarctica for ice
a logistics point of view. Because the South Pole is
fields that might be suitable as sites for blue-ice
located in an area of snow accumulation, the run-
runways. His analysis indicated that many of these
way would be prepared on compacted snow.
areas appeared to be unsuitable for transport
About 20 cm of new snow accumulates at the
aircraft because of slope, grade change, length,
South Pole each year. The runway, therefore,
crevasses, cross winds, or obstructed approaches.
would have to be periodically replaced to accom-
Swithinbank's study identified 84 potential blue-
modate the slowly rising snow surface. It may not
ice runway sites.
A blue-ice area runway at Patriot Hills (8019'S,
be economically feasible to continue to resurface
81W), about 1,075 km from the South Pole, has
the runway after the major construction effort of
replacing the South Pole Station is completed.
been used by commercial adventure tour opera-
The methods for constructing this type of runway
tors since 1987. In addition, Twin Otter landings
are still experimental, and it is not certain that a
have been made at the Mill Glacier and Mount
runway capable of supporting C-130 aircraft can
Howe sites (Mellor and Swithinbank 1989). Sur-
be built at the South Pole.
veys have been conducted at the Rosser Ridge
site (8246'S, 5340'W) in the Pensacola Moun-
The runway would probably be constructed
tains and the Mount Lechner site (8315'S,
using a device for disaggregating and adding en-
5114'W) in the Forrestal Range (Kovacs and Abele
ergy to the snow, followed by a roller to compact
the snow. A snow plane would be used to smooth
1977, as cited in Mellor and Swithinbank 1989).
the surface. Compaction would take place in lay-
Reedy Glacier site (8545'S, 13300'W) that might
ers to build up a snow pavement of the required
thickness and support capabilities (Abele 1990).
provide an advanced base for work on the Siple
Mellor (1988) identifies several other compaction
Coast and other parts of West Antarctica (Fig.
techniques, such as impact devices, sawdust or
B3). Another area that is of interest is an extensive
chemical additives, melt-freeze bonding by heat-
area of blue ice in the Patuxent Range of the
ing or wetting, and airfield mats. Extensive test-
Pensacola Mountains (Fig. B3) that could provide
ing would be required to determine the strength
an advance base of operations for work in the
of the runway surface and its ability to withstand
direction of the Weddell Sea and the Antarctic
wheeled aircraft landings. Maintenance of the run-
Peninsula. Areas of possible interest as emergency
way would involve reconstruction of the runway
landing fields for conventional aircraft flying
surface layer every year. If such a runway were to
between McMurdo and New Zealand would be
prove successful, it would be supported by the
those within a 280-km radius northwest of
South Pole Station personnel and facilities and
McMurdo and a site at the Rennick Glacier
(7130'S, 16215'E) (Fig. B3).
the number of additional support personnel
should be kept to a minimum. All vehicles except
aircraft would be serviced and maintained at the
South Pole Station.
AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT AND
Under the no-action alternative, no additional
air logistics capabilities using wheeled aircraft
would be added to support activities at the South
Pole Station. This alternative would make recon-
The Pegasus site (16635'E, 78S) is located about
struction or replacement of the South Pole Station
13 km east of Williams Field on the Ross Ice Shelf