- Vostok, Antarctica gets less than 10 inches of snow each year and it’s technically a desert. Still, it’s downright cold here. The coldest temperature ever recorded was minus 128.56 degrees Fahrenheit. French, Russian and American scientists are currently drilling a hole through the 12,139 foot thick ice sheet.
- Like all areas south of the equator, the Plateau Station in Antarctica experiences winter during our summers. The lowest temperature ever recorded here was in July – a chilly minus 119.2 degrees.
- In Oymyakon, Siberia, school children don’t get a snow day unless the temperature dips below minus 61 degrees. It’s cold here most of the year and the lowest temperature ever recorded was -96.16 degrees F. Despite the cold, over 200,000 people live here. Brrr!
- In fourth place, sits Verkhoyansk, also in Siberia. This small town near the Arctic Circle is home to fur trading and reindeer farms. The coldest temperature recorded here was minus 93.64 degrees F.
- The North Ice in Greenland was once site of a British research station. The lowest temperature ever recorded here was minus 86.8 degrees.
- The tiny village of Snag in the Canada Yukon can only be reached by road during the summer. Snow mobiles can take you there in the winter. The coldest temperature ever recorded here was minus 81.4 degrees, recorded in January.
- Situated 25 miles north of Fairbanks, the small town of Prospect Creek experiences cold temperatures most of the year. Summers are short and the weather has gotten worse in recent years. The coldest temperature ever recorded here was -80 degrees.
- Fort Selkirk, a former trading post on the Yukon River in Yukon, Canada can only be reached by plane or boat. The coldest temperature recorded here was minus 74 degrees.
- Eismitte, which means ice center in German is an ice covered portion of Greenland. The record cold temperature here was minus 64.9 degrees. Other areas have experience colder temperatures, but Eismitte remains frigid all year long. Grab your mittens and some hot cocoa!
- Rogers Pass in Wyoming sits on top of the Continental Divide. The lowest temperature ever recorded here – minus 70 degrees is also the coldest temperature recorded in the U.S. outside of Alaska.
Don’t forget International Falls, Minnesota, which gets an average of 65.5 inches of snow each year. The average temperature in International Falls in January is 2.7 degrees. International Falls locals say their town is the coldest place in the United States, but the people of Fraser, Colorado disagree. This town, situated in the Rocky Mountains, has long, snowy winters and temperatures can dip to freezing even in the summer. The two towns have been arguing for over 10 years about which one is the coldest.
Fun Facts about the Top 10 Coldest Places on Earth for Kids
- Rogers Pass is also a favored route of Golden Eagles for their annual migration over the Continental Divide
- Many places on earth that experience these extremely cold temperatures also experience times of extended daylight. Some, like Eismitte near the middle of Greenland, have months where the sun is constantly in the sky and does not rise or set at all.
- It is amazing how some animals can not only survive, but thrive in cold weather. Prospect Creek, Alaska has a population of brown bears, black bears, bald eagles and more that don’t seem to mind the extreme changes in temperature.
- Verkhoyansk has experienced odder things than just cold weather. In January of 2012 Verkoyansk was attacked by a migrating pack of about 400 wolves. Sounds like a plot for a horror movie, doesn’t it?
- The cold also seems to be a good preservative. The Plateau Station was only in use for 3 years back in the late 1960’s. When visited and inspected in 2007 it was found to be mostly intact even after being vacant for almost 40 years.
Top 10 Coldest Places on Earth Vocabulary
- Trading: instances of buying, selling or bartering goods and/or services
- Migration: moving to live, breed or find a new home
- Continental Divide: raised line or area dividing a watershed
- Temperature: a measurement of cold or heat
- Frigid: very cold; lacking all warmth
- Situated: Located in a particular place
- Extreme: greatest or highest degree; far beyond normal
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A news video of facts about some of the coldest places on Earth.
Top 10 Coldest Places on Earth Q&A
Question: Why are scientists trying to drill a hole through the ice sheet at Vostok?
Answer: Scientists wanted to learn more about the earth’s history. From the ice cores the drilled at Vostok they now have a record of 420,000 years’ worth of past environmental conditions covering four prior glacial periods.
Question: How do scientists choose sites to do this kind of research?
Answer: It depends on what they are looking to learn. Scientists that selected the North Greenland Ice Core Project site wanted to ‘see’ a long and undisturbed record of environmental history that would show into the last glacial period. They selected an area that even under the ice would be flat so their core samples would not be distorted.
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