Dragging Tires to "Push Frost"
Country: United States
Date: September 2006
While working on a construction projects during the
winter in northern Canada, I have come across an interesting
practice. Bulldozers were used to drag heavy tires across the
ground in an attempt to "push" the frost deeper into the
ground. The way it was explained to me, "pushing frost" results in
deeper frost in the ground underneath the traveled path of the dozer.
The desired end result is that the frost lasts longer into the spring
and summer making site work much easier.
I am skeptical that the procedure works and have no evidence either way
but many of the equipment operators swore that they had seen evidence of
its effectiveness. Is there any evidence of this phenomenon and if so, is
there an explanation?
I have never heard of the practice you mention. I have to
agree without that it sounds like complete nonsense! I cannot
imagine how dragging a tire (even a big one!) over frozen
ground could possibly cause the layer of frost underground to
move deeper. To "move" the frost deeper, actually requires
the ground below the frost layer to freeze (after all, how
else is frost formed?). Dragging a tire across the ground is
obviously not going to cause the ground under the existing
frost layer to freeze to form a thicker layer of frost
Click here to return to the Engineering Archives
Update: June 2012