Extremes on Earth

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This article describes extreme locations on Earth. Entries listed in bold are Earth-wide extremes.


Extreme elevations and temperatures per continent

ContinentElevation (height above/below sea level)ATemperature (recorded)[1]B
Africa5,893 m (19,334 ft)
Kilimanjaro, Tanzania[2]
−155 m (−509 ft)
Lake Assal, Djibouti[3]
55 °C (131 °F)
Kebili, Tunisia
7 July 1931C
−23.9 °C (−11.0 °F)
Ifrane, Morocco
11 February 1935
Antarctica4,892 m (16,050 ft)
Vinson Massif[4]
Vinson Massif from space.jpg
−50 m (−164 ft)[5]
Deep Lake, Vestfold Hills
(compare the deepest ice section below)
15 °C (59 °F)
Vanda Station
5 January 1974
−89.2 °C (−128.6 °F)
Vostok Station

21 July 1983
Asia8,848 m (29,029 ft)
Mount Everest, Nepal[6]
Sagarmatha ck Oct18 2002.jpg
−424 m (−1,391 ft)
Dead Sea shore, Israel - West Bank - Jordan
54 °C (129 °F)
Tirat Zvi, British Mandate of Palestine
21 June 1942D
−67.8 °C (−90.0 °F) Measured
Verkhoyansk, Siberia, Russia (then in the Russian Empire)
5 February 1892
−71.2 °C (−96.2 °F) Extrapolated
Oymyakon, Siberia, Russia (then in the Soviet Union)
26 January 1926[8]
Europe5,642 m (18,510 ft)
Mount Elbrus, Russia
(compare Mont Blanc)[9]
Mount Elbrus May 2008.jpg
−28 m (−92 ft)
Caspian Sea shore, Russia
(compare the Tagebau Hambach)[10]
48.0 °C (118.4 °F)
Athens, Greece
(and Elefsina, Greece)
10 July 1977 E
−58.1 °C (−72.6 °F)
Ust-Shchuger, Russia
31 December 1978
North America6,198 m (20,335 ft)
Mount McKinley (Denali), Alaska, U.S.A.[11]
Denali Mt McKinley.jpg
−86 m (−282 ft)
Death Valley, California, U.S.A.
(compare the deepest ice section below)[12]
56.7 °C (134.1 °F)
Death Valley, California, U.S.A.
10 July 1913
−63 °C (−81.4 °F)
Snag, Yukon, Canada
3 February 1947F
(including Australia)
4,884 m (16,024 ft)
Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid), Indonesia
(compare Mount Wilhelm and Mount Kosciuszko)[13]
Puncak Jaya icecap 1972.jpg
−15 m (−49 ft)
Lake Eyre, South Australia, Australia[14]
50.7 °C (123.3 °F)
Oodnadatta, South Australia, Australia
2 January 1960G
−23 °C (−9 °F)
Charlotte Pass, New South Wales, Australia
29 June 1994H
South America6,962 m (22,841 ft)
Aconcagua, Mendoza, Argentina[15]
Aconcagua heli 3.jpg
−105 m (−344 ft)
Laguna del Carbón, Argentina[16]
48.9 °C (120.0 °F)
Rivadavia, Salta Province, Argentina
11 December 1905
−32.8 °C (−27.0 °F)
Sarmiento, Argentina
1 June 1907
A.^ Height above sea level is the usual choice of definition for elevation. In terms of the point farthest away from the centre of the Earth, Chimborazo in Ecuador (6,267 m (20,561 ft)) can be considered the planet's most extreme high point. This is due to the Earth's oblate spheroid shape, with points near the Equator being farther out from the centre than those at the poles.
B.^ All temperatures from the World Meteorological Organization unless noted.
C.^ The former record of 57.7 °C (135.9 °F) recorded at Al 'Aziziyah, Libya on 13 September 1922 was ruled no longer valid by the WMO due to mistakes made in the recording processs.[17]
D.^ This is the highest recorded air temperature. Higher surface temperatures have been recorded, for example, 70.7 °C (159.3 °F) in 2004 and 2005 in the Lut desert, Iran.[18][19][20][21]
E.^ Temperatures greater than 50 °C (122 °F) in Spain and Portugal were recorded in 1881, but the standard with which they were measured and the accuracy of the thermometers used are unknown; therefore, they are not considered official. Unconfirmed reports also indicate that a set of Spanish stations may have hit 48.0 °C (118.4 °F) during the 2003 heat wave.[22]
F.^ A temperature of −66.1 °C (−87.0 °F) was recorded at North Ice, Greenland on 9 January 1954. However due to unknown recording conditions it is not considered official.[23]
G.^ A temperature of 53.1 °C (127.6 °F) was recorded in Cloncurry, Queensland on 16 January 1889 under non-standard exposure conditions and is therefore not considered official.[24]
H.^ A temperature of −25.6 °C (−14.1 °F) is reported for Ranfurly, New Zealand having occurred on 18 July 1903. However, it is not listed by the WMO.[25]

Greatest vertical drop

Greatest purely vertical drop
Mount Thor Peak 1997-08-07.jpg
1,250 m (4,101 ft)
Mount Thor, Auyuittuq National Park, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada (summit elevation 1,675 m (5,495 ft))[26][27]
Greatest nearly vertical drop
1,340 m (4,396 ft)
Trango Towers, Pakistan (summit elevation 6,286 m (20,623 ft))


Deepest mine4,000 m (13,123 ft)
Mponeng Gold mine, South Africa
Deepest mine under sea level2,733 m (8,967 ft) under sea level
Kidd Mine, Ontario, Canada
Deepest open-pit mine1,200 m (3,937 ft)
Bingham Canyon Mine, Utah, USA
Deepest open-pit mine under sea level293 m (961 ft) under sea level
Tagebau Hambach, Germany
Deepest cave2,193 m (7,195 ft)
Voronya Cave, Arabika Massif, Georgia
Deepest pitch (single vertical drop)603 m (1,978 ft)
Vrtoglavica Cave, Slovenia

Greatest oceanic depths

Atlantic Ocean8,648 m (28,373 ft)
Milwaukee Deep, Puerto Rico Trench
Arctic Ocean5,450 m (17,881 ft)
Litke Deep, Eurasian Basin
Indian Ocean7,258 m (23,812 ft)
Java Trench[28]
Pacific Ocean10,971 m (35,994 ft)
Challenger Deep, Mariana Trench[29]
Southern Ocean7,235 m (23,737 ft)
South Sandwich Trench (southernmost portion, at 60°S)

Deepest ice

Ice sheets on land, but having the base below sea level. Places under ice are not considered to be on land.

Bentley Subglacial Trench−2,555 m (−8,383 ft)Antarctica
Trough beneath Jakobshavn Isbræ−1,512 m (−4,961 ft)[30]Greenland

Coldest and hottest inhabited places on Earth

Hottest inhabited placeDallol, Ethiopia, whose annual mean temperature was recorded from 1960 to 1966 as 34.4 °C (93.9 °F).[31] The average daily maximum temperature during the same period was 41.1 °C (106.0 °F).[32]
Coldest inhabited placeOymyakon (Russian: Оймякон), a village (selo) in Oymyakonsky Ulus of the Sakha Republic, Russia, located along the Indigirka River.[33] It has the coldest monthly mean with −46 °C (−51 °F) as the daily average in January, the coldest month. Eureka, Nunavut, Canada has the lowest annual mean temperature at −19.7 °C (−3.5 °F).[34]
The South Pole and some other places in Antarctica are colder and are populated year-round, but almost everyone stays less than a year and could be considered visitors, not inhabitants.

Northern and southernmost points of land on Earth

Northernmost point on landKaffeklubben Island, east of Greenland (83°40′N 29°50′W / 83.667°N 29.833°W / 83.667; -29.833)
Various shifting gravel bars lie further north, the most famous being Oodaaq
Southernmost point on landThe geographic South Pole

See also


  1. ^ Global Weather & Climate Extremes World Meteorological Organization
  2. ^ The Kilimanjaro 2008 Precise Height Measurement Expedition. Precise Determination of the Orthometric Height of Mt. Kilimanjaro
  3. ^ A life of constant thirst beside Djibouti's Lake Assal
  4. ^ "Mount Vinson". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=gnispq:5:::NO::P5_ANTAR_ID:18890. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  5. ^ Indicator 62 - Water levels of Deep Lake, Vestfold Hills, Australian Antarctic Data Centre. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  6. ^ The 'Highest' Spot on Earth?
  7. ^ Lowest Elevation: Dead Sea
  8. ^ Life Is a Chilling Challenge in Subzero Siberia from the National Geographic
  9. ^ Mount Elbrus at peakbagger.com
  10. ^ The Handy Geography Answer Book: Second Edition
  11. ^ Mount McKinley, Alaska at peakbagger.com
  12. ^ Death Valley National Park
  13. ^ Carstensz Pyramid, Indonesia at peakbagger.com
  14. ^ Oceaina
  15. ^ Aconcagua, Argentina at peakbagger.com
  16. ^ Lowest Points on Land
  17. ^ Ninety-year-old World temperature record in El Azizia (Libya) is invalid Improved data strengthens Climate knowledge
  18. ^ The Hottest Spot on Earth
  19. ^ Satellites seek global hot spots | csmonitor.com
  20. ^ The Ceaseless Buzzing of Kinetic Energy, Daniel Engber, May 30, 2007, Discover, on line; accessed May 9, 2008.
  21. ^ New Images - The Hottest Spot on Earth, news, Earth Observatory, NASA. Accessed on line May 9, 2008.
  22. ^ Europe: Highest Temperature WM0
  23. ^ Western Hemisphere: Lowest Temperature
  24. ^ Transcript of report on the highest temperature
  25. ^ New Zealand’s coldest recorded temperature
  26. ^ Mount Thor -The Greatest Vertical Drop on Earth!
  27. ^ "Thor Peak". Bivouac.com. http://www.bivouac.com/MtnPg.asp?MtnId=4155. Retrieved 2009-11-30.
  28. ^ Indian Ocean, CIA World Factbook. Accessed on line December 26, 2008.
  29. ^ "Daily Reports for R/V KILO MOANA June and July 2009". University of Hawaii Marine Center. 2009-06-04. http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/UMC/Reports/Archives/KMreportJuneJuly2009.html. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
  30. ^ Plummer, Joel. Jakobshavn Bed Elevation, Center for the Remote Sensing of the Ice Sheets, Dept of Geography, University of Kansas.
  31. ^ p. 9, Weather Experiments, Muriel Mandell and Dave Garbot, Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2006, ISBN 1-4027-2157-9.
  32. ^ Average of table on p. 26, Extreme Weather: A Guide & Record Book, Christopher C. Burt and Mark Stroud, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007, ISBN 0-393-33015-X.
  33. ^ p. 57, Extreme Weather: A Guide & Record Book, Christopher C. Burt and Mark Stroud, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007, ISBN 0-393-33015-X.
  34. ^ Canadian Climate Normals 1971-2000

External links