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Abstract

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.

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