U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III takes off from a Phoenix Airfield in Antarctica. The US Army Corps of Engineers built the compacted snow runway after 16 continuous months of construction.

The runway was designed using a compaction technique to modify the deep snow using heavy rollers weighing up to 160,000 pounds, to change the snow’s strength properties from its natural state creating a denser, higher strength snow foundation (32 inches deep) that can withstand the impact of a C-17 Globemaster III landing.

And, in this particular case, the Phoenix runway was designed to withstand approximately 60 wheeled flights a year.

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