Stabilization of a Permafrost Subsidence in the Airport Runway at Bethel Alaska

by Terry McFadden, Univ of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, USA,
Carl Siebe, Univ of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Cold Regions Engineering


During the construction of the extension to the Bethel Airport runway in 1969, it was necessary to construct a fill across a small gully. The subbase material in the gully contained some frozen soils of high water content. The change of the thermal regime resulted in melting of some of the ice-rich frozen silt. Upon thawing, the previously ice rich material slumped, a depression in the runway surface resulted, and the effects grew. The Alaska Department of Transportation decided that this was an excellent opportunity to try an experimental subbase stabilization using passive heat transfer devices known as 'thermotubes', 'thermoprobes' or sometimes 'Cyroanchors'. This paper discusses the application, design, installation and results.

Subject Headings: Airport and airfield pavements | Permafrost | Land subsidence | Frozen soils | Heat transfer | Soil water | Ice | Geotechnical engineering | Alaska | United States

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