The actions of the victims of the disaster in the Arctic or in the snowy tundra, the construction of a temporary shelter from the snow.

A person may find himself in an autonomous existence in the Arctic or in a snowy tundra due to a variety of circumstances. The history of polar navigation knows many cases when people, after the death of a ship overwhelmed by ice, were left alone with the Arctic. 

Actions of the victims of disaster in the Arctic or in the snowy tundra, the construction of a temporary shelter from the snow.

Evidence of this is the dramatic fate of the crews of Jeanette and St. Anne, Hercules and &# 8216; Karluka. With the heroic feat of the Soviet people, the name of the icebreaker Chelyuskin is connected. Wrecked with ice in the Chukchi Sea, on February 13, 1934, the ship sank, and among the ice open spaces there were one hundred and two people. Led by the famous Soviet scientist O. Yu. Schmidt, the polar explorers organized a camp on drifting ice. Only on April 13, the last Chelyusky captain V.I. Voronin and radio operator E.T. Krenkel were taken out of the camp.

No matter where people are in distress among the ice in the high-latitude regions of the Arctic or in the snowy tundra, their main enemy from the very first minute becomes cold. The fight against cold, with the effect on the body of low temperatures, is the most important problem of the autonomous existence of man in the Arctic. It is clear that clothing will play a major role in preventing cold damage. The warmer it is, the longer a person can withstand a polar cold. It is no accident that Arctic clothing is made from materials that have low thermal conductivity and high air tightness..

There is a direct dependence of the time during which the human body maintains thermal comfort, on the value of the ambient temperature and the heat-insulating properties of clothes. For example, a person dressed in flying overalls, at a temperature of minus 5 degrees, will experience a state of thermal comfort for no more than half an hour. The same amount of time will pass if you put it in a woolen underwear and a cotton jacket at an external temperature of minus 30 degrees or in a set consisting of woolen linen, a woolen sweater and a fur jacket with trousers at a temperature of minus 50 degrees. If the jacket is covered with a waterproof waterproof cloth and provided with a warm liner, a person will freeze after 45-60 minutes (Nes-bitt at al., 1959).

Thus, even the warmest clothing can ensure the maintenance of a positive heat balance at negative ambient temperatures only for a strictly limited time. Sooner or later, the heat loss will be greater than the heat production, and cooling of the body will begin. People in distress should hurry with the construction of a temporary shelter. For this purpose, they have at their disposal the most ideal building material snow. It is easy to saw, cut. Snow blocks can be effortlessly shaped into any shape, resized on the go.

Building a temporary snow shelter in the Arctic or tundra.

Blocks of snow do not slip due to its stickiness and, applied one to the other, in 5-10 minutes form a single monolith. But the main thing is that snow is an excellent heat insulator due to the high air content (up to 90%) filling the space between the snow crystals. As a result, the temperature of snow shelters is usually 15 to 20 degrees higher than the outside. And with short-term (3-4 hours) heating with a stearin candle or tablets of dry fuel, the air temperature in the snow cave could be raised to 0, and to the needle to minus 3, while the thermometer hanging outside showed 18 27 frost.

The lining of snow bricks significantly insulates any camping tent. Using such a lining with a thickness of 40-60 cm, we were able to keep the temperature in the KAPPA tent 15 degrees higher than the outside, without resorting to heating appliances, at drifting stations. The thickness of the snow cover in the Arctic is usually small, only 25 to 90 cm. But the snow masses, moving under the influence of the wind, form air-blowers, sometimes reaching one and a half to two meters in height. Often their density is so high that it can withstand the weight of a tracked tractor.

In such a snowdrift with a machete knife, a hacksaw, etc. you can dig a snow trench (see picture). To build a snow cave in a snowdrift, a tunnel is breached, and then its blind end is expanded to the desired size. If the snow is not deep, a one and a half meter-high barrier wall is erected from small snow blocks perpendicular to the direction of the prevailing wind to protect against wind. This direction can be determined by the location of zastrugi, peculiar protrusions and indentations in the snow cover. But perhaps the most ideal snow shelter is the Eskimo igloo hut. For centuries, the igloo served as the only winter home for the continental Eskimos..

Knud Rasmussen, who studied for many years the life and life of the Eskimos on the Great Luge Way, from the shores of the Hudson Bay to Alaska, wrote that sometimes these snowy houses represented real architectural ensembles.

In the most important housing, twelve people could easily accommodate at night. This part of the snow house turned into a high portal, like a hall, where people cleaned themselves off before entering the living quarters. On the other hand, a spacious bright annex adjoined the main dwelling, where two families settled.

We had plenty of fat, and therefore seven or eight lamps burned at a time, which made it warm from these white blocks of snow that people could walk half-naked to their full pleasure (Rasmussen, 1958).

Of course, a person in an autonomous existence is not up to architectural excesses, but by building a needle, he will reliably protect himself from the wind and cold. There are many recommendations on what should be the size of the igloo, what is the optimal size of snow bricks, how best to equip the home inside.

Building an igloo out of snow.

First of all, you need to find a flat area with a dense, deep, at least a meter, snow cover. Then, with the help of a rope, at the ends of which a peg is tied, a circle is drawn around which the first row of snow bricks will be laid. The diameter of the circle is chosen depending on the number of future residents igloo: 2.4 meters for one person, 2.7 meters for two, 3 meters for three, four meters for three. Polar researchers, who have often shelled behind the secure walls of an Eskimo igloo, recommend cutting blocks of length 50 90 cm, width 40 50 cm, thickness 10 cm (Amundsen, 1936; Stefansson, 1948; Gaines, 1982, etc.)

If the snow is not dense enough, the thickness of the block can be increased to 20 cm (Berman, 1963). Such a block, depending on its size and snow density, weighs 20-40 kg. To remove the block, it is cut from two sides by 5-7 cm, and then, bringing the tool under the base, swing it with light movements. The trench formed after excavation of the blocks is used as an entrance to the dwelling. If four are involved in the construction, one cuts out bricks, the second brings up, the third, standing inside the hut, erects walls, and the fourth, following it, wipes the cracks between the blocks with snow.

Having cut 15-20 blocks, the first row is laid along the perimeter of the circle. Then a cut is made diagonally from the upper edge of one of the blocks of the first row to its lower edge. The first block of the second tier, etc., is laid in the formed recess, while continuing to lay in a spiral. In this case, each block of the next row is laid at a slightly greater slope than the previous one. The result is a hut with a more or less regular dome. Having finished laying the walls, the holes between the blocks are rubbed with snow. From the side of the trench in the wall, an inlet is cut through the needle.

If it is at or below the floor, there is no need to close it. The warm air that fills the space under the snow dome like a cork prevents cold outside air from entering the cabin. If fuel reserves allow, the temperature of the air in the needle for a while increase by 10 20 degrees. As a result, the vault of the hut thaws slightly. No drops are formed, as snow, like a blotter, absorbs the formed moisture. When the inner surface of the dome becomes wet, the fire is extinguished. Soon the walls are covered with a thin, shiny, like glass, ice film, and the hut acquires extraordinary strength.

To remove the products of people’s breathing and burning waste of a grease lamp, candles, dry fuel, a ventilation hole is made in the dome. Opposite the entrance, a lounger is constructed from snow blocks 50 to 70 cm high, covered with tarpaulin, parachute fabric or laid on top of an inflated rescue boat with the bottom up. With some construction experience, the needle can be erected in one to two hours. In its absence, the construction will take a little longer. But all the troubles will pay off with interest when the snow house is ready and at least the smallest little light is flooded in it.

Other options for temporary refuge in the Arctic and tundra.

A reliable dwelling in the Arctic and the tundra, and most importantly does not require special physical efforts during the construction, can be an inflatable liferaft included in the emergency kit of many aircraft. With the most modest means of heating (2 stearin candles) in 25-degree frost, you can raise the air temperature inside the raft from minus 20 to plus 1. The temperature can be maintained even higher if the raft is additionally insulated with a layer of snow blocks.

Snow temporary shelter heating.

To heat a temporary shelter, prepare food, melt snow and boil water in the Arctic and the tundra, a variety of means are used: stearin candles and dry alcohol tablets, fat from hunting seals, walrus, polar bears, dwarf trees, peat turf, dry grass, fin (beached trunks and large branches of trees). Peat sod is pre-cut into small briquettes and dried, and dry grass must be bundled. The fat lamp is most convenient for heating a small shelter. Its construction is simple.

A hole is made in the bottom of the can, through which the wick is lowered from a strip of bandage, a handkerchief, or other cloth previously moistened or rubbed with fat. Chunks of fat are laid on top of the bottom, and the fat, melting, will drain down, supporting the flame. The flow of air into the lamp provides three or four holes punched from the side. Another type of lamp is made of a flat tin can, a box from a first-aid kit or a sheet of metal simply bent around the edges. It is filled with fuel, into which 2 3 wicks are lowered. A pair of such lamps can provide a safe temperature in the shelter in the most severe frost.

Based on materials from the book Man in extreme environmental conditions.
V.G. Volovich.

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