igloo (ĭgˈlō) [key] [Inuit, = house]. The Eskimos traditionally had three types of houses. A summer house, which was basically a tent, a winter house, which was usually partially dug into the ground and covered with earth; and a snow or ice house. The latter was a dome-shaped dwelling constructed of blocks of snow placed in an ascending spiral with a low tunnel entrance. Although it can provide adequate protection for weeks in severe cold, it was used almost exclusively as a temporary shelter while traveling.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.