Digging out the floor of an igloo?

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Joined:Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:50 am
Digging out the floor of an igloo?

Post by fish » Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:09 am

I had some great ideas for some igloos I want to build this winter. A double igloo: first igloo would be the sleeping quarters with a single trench in the middle with 2 ''beds'' on each sides and the other igloo would be the living quarters with a digged out circular trench all around a central elevated portion (a dinning table of sorts).

However, as I was reading on this forum, there might be structural problems with digging out that much portions of the floor. Is that correct? What are the do's and don't of digging out the floor of an igloo? I was hoping to dig a good feet deeper to give us extra room...



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Igloo Ed
Joined:Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:44 pm
Location:Lyons, Colorado

Re: Digging out the floor of an igloo?

Post by Igloo Ed » Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:59 am

Hi David, welcome to the forum.
I'm not quite sure what you are thinking of digging out but I think you are talking of digging a circular trench inside the igloo and leaving a ledge of the original foundation to sit on. I think that would be OK.
I think this is OK because the sitting bench running all the way around the igloo would need to be fairly wide so you could sit on it without hitting your head or back on the igloo wall. This would leave a pretty wide foundation for the igloo to sit on.
If you are thinking about digging the floor deeper all the way to the walls, then you are running the chance of the igloo collapsing as mentioned in this thread:
http://www.grandshelters.com/phpBB3/vie ... ?f=19&t=27
However, if the foundation is packed deep enough then the floor could possibly be removed all the way to the wall without the foundation collapsing.
The foundation can usually be packed very deeply by stomping/jumping with only boots on until you've either reached the ground or a depth deeper than the depth you intend to dig the floor down to. I actually stomp as deep as possible on all the igloos I build so the foundation doesn't sag with time.
Because quinzhees/snowdomes are normally built in shallow snow conditions, it is recommended that all the snow be removed down to the ground and then piled back up so the snow is packed all the way down to the floor one intends to have.

Joined:Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:50 am

Re: Digging out the floor of an igloo?

Post by fish » Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:49 am

Hi Ed,
I was actually thinking of the latter of the two: Digging all the way to the wall. Basically adding an extra feet of depth to the igloo's internal height by digging an extra feet, except for in the middle of the igloo which would be elevated and serve as a table area.

I see from your post that the important thing is to not compromise the fondation's support for the walls to avoid any mishaps.

Cheers for the info!


PS: attached a very VERY crude drawing of where I should re-inforce (stomp down bare-boot to pack the snow well). It's drawn in red and in blue is the area I wanted to dig out. The red arrows represent the forces the walls exert on the foundation.
igloo-forces.JPG (10.35KiB)Viewed 31695 times

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