Travel - Locations
By: - at March 12, 2013

Top 10 Coldest Places in the World

Cold places abound on the earth. So, in order to make the following top ten list, the place has to have had at least two incidences of record cold temperatures. Most all, if not all, of the bone-chilling locales are found in Antarctica. However, to make the compilation more varied, other record-breaking cold spots are included in the postings. Otherwise, the list would only comprise places located in the Antarctic.

coldest places on the planet


10)  Rogers Pass, Montana (USA)
Rogers Pass sits at just over 5,600 feet above sea level and is found on the Continental Divide. Located between Great Falls and Missoula, the Pass was named for one of the Great Northern Railway surveyors, A.B. Rogers, who discovered the area in 1887. Close by is the Helena National Forest which covers more than 980,000 acres of terrain that was once traversed and surveyed during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. 

Rogers Pass is Adjacent to the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness Area:

By Montanabw via Wikimedia Commons

While Rogers Pass can get mighty cold in the months of March and April, it seems to be a favorite spot for migrating birds, especially Canadian geese, swans, and eagles. Temperatures during the early spring have been registered at almost 70 below zero on the Fahrenheit scale.


9)  Fort Selkirk in the Yukon (Canada)
Fort Selkirk is a former trading post located on the Yukon River nestled at the convergence of the Pelly River in Canada's Yukon Territory. It would become an important supply point along the Yukon River, but after the Klondike Highway circumvented making stops at the once bustling location, the trading area was essentially abandoned by the mid 1950s. 

Pelly River and Crossing:
Pelly River and Crossing

During that time, sternwheelers operated on the river. Today, people can only access the remote Canadian town by plane or by boat. The town has posted a low of -75 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s no surprise then that no commercial enterprises are operating in the Yukon locale.

Historic Buildings at Fort Selkirk:
Historic Buildings at Fort Selkirk:
By Maedward via Wikimedia Commons


8)  Prospect Creek, Alaska (USA)
Prospect Creek in Alaska is considered a settlement and is located about 180 miles north of Fairbanks. It was once an established camp during the construction of the Trans-Alaskan pipeline.

prospect creek

Today, Prospect Creek has the noted distinction of having recorded the coldest temperature in the U.S. That record was set in 1971 on January 23rd. At that time, the mercury plunged to -80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, even with its temperature extremes, Prospect Creek is still home to an abundance of wildlife, some of which include bald eagles and bears. The settlement is also close to Moore Creek, where quartz and gold are both mined.


7)  Snag, Yukon (Canada)
Resting in the White River Valley, adjacent to the Alaska Highway, Snag is a village which is just south of Beaver Creek. First established during the Klondike Gold Rush, the village was once the location of an airfield for the military. The facility shut down in 1968.

Klondikers Carrying Supplies Ascending the Chilkoot Pass in 1898:
Klondikers Carrying Supplies Ascending the Chilkoot Pass in 1898

One report in 1947 shows that the population in Snag consisted of around 10 fur traders and natives and 20 airport personnel. Today, the area is often depicted by sharp, numbing winds and desolate foggy skies. The temperature has dipped as much as -81 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale.

Hunker Creek Valley, Klondike, Yukon:
Hunker Creek Valley, Klondike, Yukon
By Janothird via Wikimedia Commons





6)  Eismitte in Greenland
Located in the direct center of Greenland, Eismitte proves that Greenland is anything but green. Eismitte, known as Mid-Ice, in English, was the location of the ’30 to ’31 Arctic expedition into Greenland’s interior. The journey began in July 1930 and lasted until August of the following year. German scientist Alfred Wegener, a polar researcher, died during the expedition.

Station Eismitte in 1930:
Station Eismitte in 1930

The lowest temperature recorded at the site is -85 degrees Fahrenheit. The sun stays out from May 13th to July 30th of each year and takes a hiatus from November 23rd through January 20th. The area is covered in darkness during that time.

Wegener Station "Central ice" - Ice Thickness Determined to be 2700 Meters:
Wegener Station "Central ice" - Ice Thickness Determined to be 2700 Meters


5)  North Ice in Greenland
Situated on the ice of inland Greenland, North Ice was once a research station. Operated and manned by James Simpson of the British North Greenland Expedition, North Ice registered a record low of -87 degrees Fahrenheit in 1954. The expedition at the station recorded its findings from 1952 to 1954.

Northeast Greenland Ice Stream:
Northeast Greenland Ice Stream


4)  Verkhoyansk, Russia
Verkhoyansk is a Russian town in the Sakha Republic. Sitting on the Yana River, the icy town is close to the Arctic Circle. Not only is it renowned for its low, low temperature extremes, the town also features the biggest temperature variations from winter to summer. For example, January temperatures average around 50 degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit scale, and make a leap to about 62 degrees Fahrenheit in the summertime. The town’s lowest recorded temperature is -90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pole of Cold of the Northern Hemisphere Monument at Verkhoyansk's Entrance:
Pole of Cold of the Northern Hemisphere Monument at Verkhoyansk's Entrance

Verkhoyansk, which has been a home to prominent political exiles, seems to be a haven more for wolves than people too. In January 2012, a strange event occurred. Four hundred wolves descended on the town and destroyed over 300 horses.

Valley Basin of Verkhoyansk with Larix gmelinii Forest:
Valley Basin of Verkhoyansk with Larix gmelinii Forest


3)  Oymyakon, Russia
Containing about 470 people, Oymyakon is a village that is situated in east Yakutia in the Khrabet Mountain Valley.

Near Oymyakon in Yakutia, Russia:
Near Oymyakon in Yakutia, Russia
By Maarten Takens via Wikimedia Commons

Arctic winters are long in this small settlement, whose days vary from only three hours in the wintertime to around 20 hours in summer. The lowest recorded temperature in this icy enclave was posted at -96 degrees Fahrenheit.

Photographer Maarten Takens in Oymyakon:
Photographer Maarten Takens in Oymyakon


2)  Plateau Station in Antarctica
While this U.S. research station has not been operational since 1969, it did record some very cold temperatures when it was opened. At one point, the Fahrenheit reading dropped to almost -130 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale.

On the Surface of the Antarctic Plateau:
On the Surface of the Antarctic Plateau
By Stephen Bannister via Wikimedia Commons

Plateau Station is an Inactive American Research Traverse Support Base:
Plateau Station is an Inactive American Research Traverse Support Base
By U.S. Navy Seabee Museum via Wikimedia Commons


1)  Vostok in Antarctica
Vostok in Antarctica takes top billing as being the coldest place on the earth. A Russian research station, Vostok is located in Princess Elizabeth Land in the inland part of the Antarctic continent.

Vostok Station and Layout of the Camp - Caves Were Dug for Storage:
Vostok Station and Layout of the Camp - Caves Were Dug for Storage

Lying at the southern part of the Pole of Cold, Vostok’s coldest established temperature is almost -139 degrees Fahrenheit.

French, Russian, and American Scientists with Unprocessed Ice Cores:
French, Russian, and American Scientists with Unprocessed Ice Cores

It is indeed a cold world when you see just how the temperature can take a plunge – something to think about as you brave those balmy winter temperatures that rest around 30 degrees on a Fahrenheit scale.


 

 

 

 

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