Frozen Wonders: The 7 Coldest Places on Earth

Photo: James Eades

Despite the bone-chilling temperatures and howling winds, the coldest places on Earth possess an otherworldly charm that continues to captivate adventurous people. The extreme conditions showcase the power of nature and the resilience of life. 

Photo: Derek Oyen

While the coldest places don’t make popular vacation spots, if you plan a visit, don’t forget to pack extra layers of clothes and blankets. These are places where the breath’s droplets will crystallize even as you exhale, and exposed skin will freeze in minutes.  

Photo: Matt Palmer

Let’s discover our planet’s coldest spots; you might want to pour yourself a cup of hot cocoa before starting to read the list, starting with #1, which is the coldest temperature ever recorded. 

Photo: Deanna Wong

The coldest place on Earth is the East Antarctic Plateau, particularly Dome A, a ridge with an area almost the size of Australia, between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji. The region sees temperatures drop to as low as -128.6°F (-89.2°C). A satellite recorded this temperature in August 2010; ground measurements confirmed it in July 2013.

Photo: Paul Summers

Eastern Antarctic Plateau

Lying at the southern Pole of Cold and founded by the Soviet Union in 1957, this Russian research station recorded the lowest temperature on Earth on July 21, 1983. At a staggering -128.6°F (-89.2°C), you’d be surprised to know that the temperature on that day rose only as high as -88°F (-66.7°C), which might have felt a bit balmy.

Vostok Research Station, Antarctica

Photo: Imam Sizwe

Built in 1956, this station was named after pioneering explorers Roald Amundsen and Robert F. Scott. It is 9,301 feet (2,835 m) above sea level and has freezing temperatures and unrelenting blizzards. The coldest temperature recorded here was -82.8°C in June 1982.

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica

Photo: NOAA

Denali, formerly Mount McKinley, is North America’s highest peak, towering at a majestic height of 20,310 feet (6,190 m). The coldest recorded temperature in the United States, a bone-chilling -100°F (-73°C), was measured by a thermometer placed at the 15,000-foot (4,600 m) level between 1950-1969. However, wind chills can be as low as -83.4°C.

Denali, Alaska

Photo: Bartha Bailey

The record-holder for the coldest place is Klinck Research Station, located in a remote region of Greenland. In December 1991, the lowest temperatures reached -93.3°F (-69.6°C). While an automatic weather station captured the data, it was only introduced to the public domain about 30 years later!

Klinck Research Station, Greenland

Photo: Jason Krieger

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Photo: Xavier Cejudo