Wrap yourself up in a blanket, get some hot chocolate and imagine being in the coldest places on Earth. What about a place where
It’s enough to make you shiver, but, believe it or not, people actually live in some of these places. Staying warm takes on a whole different meaning when there is no warm to behold. Here are the top 10 coldest places on Earth.
10. International Falls, Minnesota
International Falls holds the trademark for being the “Icebox of the Nation, a slogan certainly fitting. The town hit a record in 2011 when the temperature reached down to -46 F. International Falls, which sits on the border between the United States and Canada. Temperatures in January average around 2.7 F while International Falls averages about 65 inches of snowfall annually. About 6,700 people live in International Falls.
9. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
About 1.3 million people live in Ulaanbaatar despite an average January low of -27.4 F. Its average annual temperature is 29.84 F and, in 2015, its average January temperature was only -41.3 F. Its title among the coldest places on Earth includes being the coldest national capital.
8. Fort Selkirk, Yukon, Canada
Fort Selkirk had thrived as a trading community when people relied on the Yukon River for transportation but failed to make the cut when highways were built. It’s since been deserted because it’s just too cold but is the site of the Fort Selkirk Historic Site co-owned by the Selkirk First Nation tribe and the Yukon government. The coldest temperature recorded there was -85 F.
7. Yakutsk, Russia
Yakutsk joins the list of the coldest places on Earth and lays claim to being the world’s coldest city. The eastern Siberian city has a population of about 200,000 despite an average January high of -34 F and a record low of -81.4 F. Players of the board game Risk will know this area as being between Siberia and Kamchatka.
6. Verkhoyansk, Russia
About 1,400 brave people call Verkhoyansk home. Temperatures average -49.7 F in January with the lowest temperature recorded being -93.6 F in 1892. Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin sent political exiles to Verkhoyansk, part of the area nicknamed “Stalin’s Death Ring.” Making it worse, a pack of 400 wolves reportedly attacked the town in 2012 killing 313 horses and more than 16,000 reindeer.
5. Oymyakon, Russia
The village of Oymyakon is ironically named after a local hot spring that residents tap through the ice to reach. Advertised for those seeking extremes, this village is anything but hot. Water otherwise must be transported to Oymyakon because the native water is frozen. It reached a low temperature of nearly -96.2 F in 1933. It’s not only one of the coldest places on Earth but, with about 500 residents, also the coldest permanently inhabited place. Oymyakon with an average temperature of -58 F rivals Verkhoyansk for the title of Northern Pole of Cold. If you visit keep your glasses in your pocket. They may freeze to your face.
4. Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada
Yellowknife is a champion among the coldest places on Earth, holding records like most extreme wind chill, coldest year round and longest snow cover. It’s considered the coldest city in North America with average winter temperatures of -20.2 F. Firefighters often have to chip the ice off their suits while wood homes must be built one foot thick and padded with insulation.
3. Mount Denali, Alaska
Mount Denali, also known as Mount McKinley, is the highest mountain peak in North America. It’s the coldest mountain on Earth as winter temperatures drop to -40 F and have dropped as far as -70 F, approaching -118 F when you add in wind chill. That’s cold enough to freeze someone in an instant. Its upper half is always covered with snow and glaciers. The name, changed to Mount McKinley, returned to Mount Denali when President Barack Obama ordered it to be changed to the original tribal name.
2. Eismitte, Greenland
Eismette means “ice center” in German, a fitting name for one of the coldest places on Earth. Located in the center of the Greenland ice sheet, German geologist Alfred Wegener and a Danish expedition team headed to the area to set up a research station in 1930 and 1931. They build the station below the ice to insulate it from the cold air, which increases greatly between November 23 and January 20. Records show temperatures between -87 F and 27 F. The expedition proves costly for Wegener and his travel companion Rasmus Villemsun who die in the cold while returning with supplies.
1. Vostok, Antarctica
About 25 scientists stay at the Russian research outpost Vostok Station every summer, when temperatures reach -25 F. About 13 remain in the winter as the temperatures dip to -85 F.
Located at about 800 miles east of the South Pole, Vostok Station recorded the lowest temperature on Earth’s surface on July 21, 1983. That’s the day the temperature dropped to -126.6 F.
While being among the most uninhabitable and inaccessible places on Earth, Vostok draws researchers eager to solve mysteries of the ice like how can life exist in Vostok Lake below the weather monitoring station.