Bill Hillman's 
EduTech Research Project
John Tyman's
INUIT ~ People of the Arctic
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Part 2: Ice & Snow and Soils
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17. Hillside near Taloyoak in spring. 
As regions of high atmospheric pressure
both the Arctic and the Antarctic receive very litlle precipitation. 
But though little snow actually falls in the Arctic it rarely melts.
It blankets the earth for eight months of the year 
and blows around a lot.
The deep drifts, where the snow collects in sheltered areas,
provide the raw materials for the "iglus" 
still built by hunters for overnight shelter.
18. Blizzard near Taloyoak in Spring.
During heavy snow falls travel is dangerous, 
as it is impossible to make out the horizon: 
land and sky blend as one..


19. Early summer rains. 
While the greater bulk of the precipitation here falls as snow,
light rains are not uncommon in spring and summer, 
when the outlook is damp and dark.
20. Ice-covered lake.
The ice forms first on the lakes in the autumn,
and gets thicker as time passes.
In places it may end up being two metres thick..

21. Fog at sea ice front in early winter.
Along the coast the ice forms first at the head of the bays 
and advances seawards as the weather gets colder. 
The position of the ice edge is marked by clouds of water vapour.
Eventually the whole bay will all be iced over
and the ice will extend many miles out to sea.
22. Sea ice fractured by tidal movement. 
In exposed positions the ice is broken by winds and tides,
but while it may be difficult to cross in places
it allows the hunter access to food beneath the ice. 
You must be wary of wind changes, though,
for these can cause the ice to break away 
along cracks like this and drift out to sea..

23. Melting snow in spring. 
Winter inland, except when the wind is howling,
is a time of deep silence broken only by the occasional animal's cry,
but this changes suddenly in the spring. 
Summer is slow in coming, but when the thaw comes it comes with a rush.
24. Water flooding downslope over tundra. 
Everywhere there's the sound of running water
as it runs across the rocks, heading downhill..


25. Edge of lake in early spring.
Since the lakes are still frozen over
the water floods the edge of the ice till it can escape through a crack.
Eventually the ice itself will break up and be carried away downstream
but this won't happen for several weeks.


26. Wetlands and lake near Taloyoak.
Because of permafrost below the surface 
(the subsoil being permanently frozen due to 
the coolness and shortness of the summer)
water cannot percolate downwards as it does in most countries.
Instead it collects in low lying areas and as a result the Arctic landscape
is characterised by innumerable lakes and ponds 
with a lot of swampy ground in between..

27. Shore of Spence Bay in early spring.
Along the coast, meltwater streams similarly discharge on to the ice.
28. Water draining across sea ice near Spence Bay.
In the early summer whole river systems etch their paths 
into the level surface seeking means of escape.

29. Snowmobile, sled and ATV crossing the bay.
Travellers have to pick their way carefully, 
avoiding the cracks.
30. Sledding on the ice in spring.
Appropriate clothing is also necessary.
It's a hair-raising time for travel!.

31. Boat parked on ice at Taloyoak.
But the melting snow gives promise of open water in mid-summer, 
for boats marooned on the ice in winter.


32. Tundra soil with indications of sorting. 
Because of the coolness and shortness of the summer here 
soils are thin and stony. They are often poorly drained,
and their mineral particles are commonly sorted 
by repeated freezing and thawing. 
33. Soil particles sorted by size. 
The expansion of the water in the soil when it freezes 
during what passes for night during the warmer part of the year here
forces the larger fragments to the surface
or squeezes them to one side..

34. Ridged patterned ground.
Patterned ground, unique to cold lands, is caused by much the same process.
Sometimes the pieces in the mosaic are defined by ridges.
35. Mounded soil. 
Elsewhere they are outlined by ditches..

Dr. John Tyman
I. Environment:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
II. Food Sources: 
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
III: Clothing/Shelter:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
IV. Family: 
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
V. Community:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Text, photos and recordings by John Tyman
Intended for Educational Use Only.
Copyright Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University, 2010.
Contact Dr. John Tyman for more information regarding licensing.

Photo processing, Web page layout, and formatting by
William Hillman | www.hillmanweb.com
Assistant Professor ~ Faculty of Education ~ Brandon University ~ Brandon, Manitoba ~ Canada