Engineering geological investigations of North Greenland for the purpose of locating sites suitable for airstrips were conducted by earth scientists of the U.S. Geological Survey, Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1956–1960. Potential sites that were approximately 5,000 ft (1,524 m) long with clear approaches, delineated through photogeologic studies and aerial reconnaissance, received on-site examination of their relief, frost features, drainage, depth to permafrost, soil composition, strength, and other engineering properties. The resulting favorable sites that required only a minimal amount of surface modification were selected for the test landings of heavy aircraft such as the C-124 and C-130. Successful landings were made at Bronlunds Fjord in 1957, at Polaris Promontory in 1959, and at Centrum Lake in 1960.
Soils are strong enough to support heavy aircraft at these tested sites except during the spring thaw in June and July. Permafrost conditions at the North Greenland sites do not impose severe restrictions on minor grading and light construction if the surficial materials on and immediately adjacent to the airstrips are not extensively removed.
Figures & Tables
Military Geology in War and Peace
In warfare, military geologists pursue five main categories of work: tactical and strategic terrain analysis, fortifications and tunneling, resource acquisition, defense installations, and field construction and logistics. In peace, they train for wartime operations and may be involved in peace-keeping and nation-building exercises. The classic dilemma for military geology has been whether support can best be provided by civilian technical-matter experts or by uniformed soldiers who routinely work with the combat units. In addition to the introductory paper this volume includes 24 papers, covering selected aspects of the history of military geology from the early 19th century through the recent Persian Gulf war, military education and operations, terrain analysis, engineering geology in the military, use of military geology in diplomacy and peace keeping, and the future of military geology.