How Does An Igloo Keep You Warm? 🧊

3 min read

Morning Inuits!

For thousands of years, humans have built shelters like this to keep warm:

Made out of blocks of literal frozen water.

Durd, how the heck are you not freezing to death?

But how can something so damn cold keep you so damn warm?

Let me explain…

So, heres a picture of the arctic circle:

Looks pretty cold and unforgiving, right?

Well, what if I told you, there's this group of people called the Inuit who have lived here for like 5,000 years?

Now It gets cold here in the winter, like SUPER cold, -58 degrees Fahrenheit.

And when it's that cold, you can either freeze your pp off or find shelter.

And because 99% of this region looks like this:

(i.e. no forests) you can’t build anything out of wood.

So you're gonna have to learn to build with literally the only thing you’ve got… snow.

So… the Inuits use blocks of snow to construct semi-spherical structures like this:

They have a little tunnel at the start which goes underground into the main room.

And, in this main room, there's the floor and a little raised bit for sleeping and doing stuff.

There’s actually a clever reason for this.

As you sit and do nothing, you get colder. Not because you're absorbing “coldness”. That's not a thing. It's actually just your warmth up and leaving you.

The more warmth you give away, the colder you feel.

So, what happens to this warmth? Well, heat tends to rise up. So as you chill in an igloo, your heat rises to the ceiling, so this little raised platform is like the warmest place to be.

The secret to all of this is the type of snow they use.

They don't use snow that's too light and airy, because it will just fall apart into a blob.

They also don't use snow that's too densely packed because that's basically just a block of ice and would be way too heavy.

They go for something in between. Some tightly packed snow that they cut out of the ground.

Strong enough to hold its shape but also airy enough to provide really good insulation.

See, air is really good at keeping warmth in and not letting it seep out, and this stuff is like 95% air.

So as you radiate heat whilst chillin in an igloo, most of it just circles around because the airy snow blocks keep it trapped.

Kinda like a big furnace, with you as the power source.

Over time, this can actually get super warm. Like, 19 - 51 degrees Fahrenheit, just from the heat of your body.

Stay Cute,
Reece, Henry & Dylan 🌈

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