We all know what igloo is. An igloo or a snow house is a shelter made of blocks of snow not ice as is
popularly believed. Igloos are traditionally used as temporary shelters by Inuit or Eskimos as they are
better known. But have you ever wondered how does one keep warm in a house made of snow?
The word igloo comes from the Inuit word for house or shelter. Inuits are natives to Arctic region of
Canada and Greenland. They are basically hunters and they build igloos as a temporary shelter in their
hunting trip. So you can imagine how fast an Inuit can build an igloo. It only takes one hour for a skilled
Inuit to build an igloo. Mostly igloos are abandoned after they use it for one or two days. But sometimes
Inuits build somewhat bigger igloos for their families to stay in. There are even igloos connected by
corridors to other igloos forming a sort of igloo village.
Let’s see how one stays warm in an igloo. It is because snow acts as a good insulator and traps the body
heat. Outside the igloo the temperatures may be as low as -45 degrees but inside the temperature can
be -7 to -16 degrees purely from body heat. Also it is possible to light a fire inside an igloo. Surprising,
isn’t it? Igloos are always dome shaped. We have never seen a square or rectangle shaped igloo. Why?
There is a very good reason for that. The dome shape provides good insulation and traps warm air in the
interior because of its minimal surface area. Also it is more a balanced shape and helps the snow to slide
Inuits mostly live in modern houses now but igloos continue to be a unique part of Arctic culture. Do
you know where world’s biggest igloo is located? It is in Zermatt, Switzerland. It is 10.5 meters tall, 12.9
meters wide and made of 1387 blocks of snow. The building crew took 2000 hours to build the huge
igloo. Although igloos are now rarely used as shelters they still continue to fascinate us.
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കരിയർ ഫ്രണ്ട് – Issue #9 : വിദ്യാര്ത്ഥികളുടെ അഭിരുചിക്കനുസരിച്ചുള്ള കരിയര് കണ്ടെത്താന് വിദ്യാ സാരഥി