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Halley Survey Base, Antarctica

Halley survey base

Imagine living and working in an environment where temperatures can reach –50°C.


A place where snowfall is so intensive that it has necessitated periodic rebuilding of snow-crushed buildings around every ten years. Welcome to the Halley Survey Base in Antarctica, year round home to a maximum population of researchers and scientists.


An unusual application for an Alimak freight elevator involves a unit that was supplied by Alimak Hek to Structaply Limited, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire in 1983.
Structaply manufacture insulated timber buildings and was awarded a contract for twin 2-storey articulated building to provide accommodation for 18 scientists at the Halley survey base in the Antarctic. Built directly onto the ice cap, the accommodation is designed for a life-span of 15 years, and in that time increasing snow falls that freeze, combined with the settling of the building itself, will submerge it to an estimated maximum depth of 20 meters below the surface (summer temperatures at the base average –30°C, winter temperature approximately –50°C).

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According to Structaply the accommodation building which is housed in 4 tubes and manufactured in double skin plywood can withstand an crushing pressure of 9 tons per square meter. The high standard of insulation necessary for the men’s survival and comfort will also prevent melted snow re-freezing beneath the building and causing damage to the underside of the structure – which has been a serious problem in previously used corrugated steel designed buildings.

Elevator details

Location Halley Survey Base, Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica
Installation year 1983
Application Research Station
Elevator type Rack & Pinion
Elevator model Alimak Scando M
Capacity 1,150 kg
Lifting height 20 m
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  • Tagged: industrial elevator