An igloo (Inuit languages: iglu, Inuktitut syllabics [ilu] (plural: igluit [iluit])), also known as a snow house or snow hut, is a type of shelter built of snow, typically built when the snow is suitable. Although igloos are often associated with all Inuit (Eskimo) peoples, they were traditionally used only by the people of Canada's Central Arctic and Greenland's Thule area. Other Inuit tended to use snow to insulate their houses, which were constructed from whalebone and hides. Snow is used because the air pockets trapped in it make it an insulator. On the outside, temperatures may be as low as 45 C (49 F), but on the inside, the temperature may range from 7 to 16 C (19 to 61 F) when warmed by body heat alone. Nomenclature The Inuit language word iglu (plural igluit) can be used for a house or home built of any material, and is not restricted exclusively to snowhouses (called specifically igluvijaq, plural igluvijait), but includes traditional tents, sod houses, homes constructed of driftwood and modern buildings. Several dialects throughout the Canadian Arctic (Siglitun, Inuinnaqtun, Natsilingmiutut, Kivalliq, North Baffin) use iglu for all buildings, including snowhouses, and it is the term used by the Government of Nunavut. An exception to this is the dialect used in the Igloolik region. Iglu is used for other buildings, while igluvijaq, (plural igluvijait, Inuktitut syllabics: ) is specifically used for a snowhouse. Outside Inuit culture, however, igloo refers exclusively to shelters constructed from blocks of compacted snow, generally in the form of a dome. Types There are three traditional types of igloos, all of different sizes and used for different purposes.
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