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Snow Caves - If They Work for the Bears...

Snow caves can provide both an emergency and recreational winter shelter. Snow is a very good insulator, and when properly made, the inside of a snow cave will stay at a cosy 32F / 0C. A single lit candle can increase the temperature substantially, much like a kudlik would do in an igloo.

The inside should be shaped like a dome (like an igloo) to add stability and insulation, and the walls should be at least 12 inches / 30 cm thick. The smoother the walls are, the less likely the cave will drip as the temperature rises inside.

This is important - bore a ventilation hole (at least 2 inches / 5 cm in diameter) into the top of the cave with a pole or stick.

This allows for the release of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide that build up from breathing or burning of candles and cook stoves. Without ventilation, these gasses can accumulate and asphyxiate (smother or suffocate) everyone inside.

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Library: Arctic, Snow, Cold/Cold Places
Inuit, Health/Safety
Links: Arctic, Inuit, Cold Places
Dig a Snow Cave
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports


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