MAKING AN IGLOO
Winters in the Arctic are brutal, to say the least, but people have been living in the region for thousands of years, since long before the advent of the furnace, the hot water heater, or even the stove. How did they keep warm at night? They constructed igloos - or domed structures made of snow. Most of us have heard of them and even tried to build one in our backyards, but the origin of the igloo starts long before, in the northern reaches of Canada.
Unique to the Inuit people, historians believe that the igloo was first developed by migrating hunters. It was originally used as a windbreak and eventually closed in to create a shelter. These first igloos were temporary, as the hunters settled for a day or two before leaving to follow the migrating herds of caribou. As the Inuit settled, they began to construct larger, more permanent igloos.
Can you imagine an igloo, built entirely of blocks of snow, constructed like an apartment building? Often several families would join together, building separate igloos for their immediate families and one large igloo to enclose the smaller ones!
Although many of us have attempted to construct one, the art of building an igloo takes practice. It is not simply a matter of stacking snow, but rather a keen understanding of geometry, load distribution and snow characteristics. This technical understanding was not taught in school but rather learned out of necessity. Now are you ready to build one?
How to construct an igloo:
Step 1. Find a suitable spot
Step 2. Prepare the blocks of snow
Step 3. Build
Step 4. The finishing work
Step 5. Let it breathe
http://www.umanitoba.ca/manitoban/20030212/features_4.shtml (University of Manitoba)
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