How to Build an Iglu (Igloo)
Ever build a snow fort as a kid? Then someone walked on top of it and that was the end of that. Well maybe you should have tried building an igloo. A properly built igloo can support the weight of a man standing on top of it. For those that don’t know, an igloo is a domed shelter constructed from blocks of snow. The word igloo comes from the Inuit word “Iglu”, which means house.
To build an igloo you need dry hard-packed snow, a handsaw, a shovel, good waterproof gloves and preferably two people.
To begin, find an area with hard-packed snow that is at least a foot deep. If this is not possible, you can pack your own snow in rectangular containers and use these blocks to build your igloo. The area you pick should be big enough to fit the full igloo once completed.
Outline a rectangular trench that is about 3 feet wide, this is where you will start cutting your snow blocks. You can use this trench as the entrance to the igloo. If you are making your own blocks in rectangular containers do not worry about making a trench. Cut out (or make) blocks that are around 0.9 meters long by 40 to 50cm high by 10 to 20cm deep. Place these in a circle. The diameter of the circle is up to you, depending on how big you want your igloo to be constructed. Your igloo must be in the shape of a circle or else its strength will be compromised. A suggested size is 3.7 meters in diameter.
Once you have your base circle of blocks set, you will need to cut an angle into them. Starting with the first block, cut (starting at the ground) a gradual angle up, moving from block to block until you have gone about half way around the igloo. This should give your base wall a spiraling curve.
Now working from the inside of your circle; starting at the lowest point place your next block, spiraling up from there, slowly curving in the blocks as you go,
The uppermost blocks will be the hardest to place. Take care doing this part. The last block must fit well as it is the key to the igloo’s strength. Start with a larger block and cut it to fit, wedging it into place. A small hole should be left in the roof for ventilation. Once all the blocks are in place cut out a door. Place blocks to either side of the door to act as a wind block and you can even connect them to make a short tunnel. Cut another block to use as a door. Finally fill all the cracks on the outside of your igloo with snow, and smooth the inside of the igloo by hand. You can also dig out the floor of the igloo to give yourself more space.
Good luck and enjoy building your igloo.
For more information on igloos check out http://bluecoatblog.ca/3756/
Photo Credit: Ansgar Walk, CC BY 2.5
Image Credit: Anuskafm, CC BY-SA 3.0