Get Extremes of Altitude essential facts below. View Videos or join the Extremes of Altitude discussion. Add Extremes of Altitude to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Extremes of Altitude
List of extreme geographical points and other geophysical records on Earth
This article lists extreme locations on Earth that hold geographical records or are otherwise known for their geophysical or meteorological superlatives. All of these locations are Earth-wide extremes; extremes of individual continents or countries are listed in separate articles under the Extreme points by region section. For other lists of extreme places on Earth, see Lists of extreme points. For more detailed meteorological and climatic records, see List of weather records.
The meridian that crosses the greatest total distance on land (disregarding intervening bodies of water) is still to be determined. It is likely located in the vicinity of 22°E, which is the longest integer meridian that fits that criterion, crossing a total of 13,035 km (8,100 mi) of land through Europe (3,370 km or 2,090 mi), Africa (7,458 km or 4,634 mi), and Antarctica (2,207 km or 1,371 mi).[b] More than 65% of this meridian's length is located on land. The next six longest integer meridians by total distance over land are, in order:
23°E: 12,953 km (8,049 mi) through Europe (3,325 km or 2,066 mi), Africa (7,415 km or 4,607 mi), and Antarctica (2,214 km or 1,376 mi)
27°E: 12,943 km (8,042 mi) through Europe (3,254 km or 2,022 mi), Asia (246 km or 153 mi), Africa (7,223 km or 4,488 mi), and Antarctica (2,221 km or 1,380 mi)
25°E: 12,875 km (8,000 mi) through Europe (3,344 km or 2,078 mi), Africa (7,327 km or 4,553 mi), and Antarctica (2,204 km or 1,370 mi)
26°E: 12,858 km (7,990 mi) through Europe (3,404 km or 2,115 mi), Africa (7,258 km or 4,510 mi), and Antarctica (2,196 km or 1,365 mi)
24°E: 12,794 km (7,950 mi) through Europe (3,263 km or 2,028 mi), Africa (7,346 km or 4,565 mi), and Antarctica (2,185 km or 1,358 mi)
28°E: 12,778 km (7,940 mi) through Europe (3,039 km or 1,888 mi), Asia (388 km or 241 mi), and Africa (7,117 km or 4,422 mi)
Along any geodesic
These are the longest straight lines[c] that can be drawn between any two points on the surface of the Earth and remain exclusively over land or water; the points need not lie on the same line of latitude or longitude.
There are several possible candidates for the longest continuous straight-line distance in any direction at sea, as there are many possible ways to travel along a great circle for more than the antipodic length of 19,840 km (12,330 mi). Some examples of such routes would be:
As distinct from all of the aforementioned geodesic lines, which may appear straight but are actually arcs of great circles projected on the spheroidal surface of the Earth and, accordingly, are not truly straight but rather curving lines, authentically straight lines can be projected through the interior of the Earth between almost any two points on the surface of the Earth (some extreme topographical situations being the rare exceptions). If a line projected from the summit of Cayambe in Ecuador (see highest points) through the axial centre of the Earth to its antipode on the island of Sumatra, then the resulting diametrical line would be the longest truly straight line that could be produced anywhere on or through the Earth. As the variable circumference of the Earth approaches 40,000 kilometres (25,000 mi), such a maximum "diametrical" or "antipodal" line would be on the order of 13,000 kilometres (8,000 mi) long.
The point farthest from Earth's centre is the summit of Chimborazo in Ecuador, at 6,384.4 km (3,967.1 mi) from Earth's centre; the peak's elevation relative to sea level is 6,263.47 m (20,549 ft).[d] Because Earth is an oblatespheroid rather than a perfect sphere, it is wider at the equator and narrower toward each pole. Therefore, the summit of Chimborazo, which is near the Equator, is farther away from Earth's centre than the summit of Mount Everest is; the latter is 2,168 m (7,112.9 ft) closer, at 6,382.3 km (3,965.8 mi) from Earth's centre. Peru's Huascarán (at 6,768 m or 22,205 ft) contends closely with Chimborazo, the difference in the mountains' heights being just 23 m (75 ft).
The fastest point on Earth or, in other words, the point furthest from Earth's rotational axis is the summit of Cayambe in Ecuador, which revolves around Earth's axis at a speed of 1,675.89 km/h (1,041.35 mph) and is 6,383.95 km (3,966.80 mi) from the axis. Like Chimborazo, which is the fourth fastest peak at 1,675.47 km/h (1,041.09 mph), Cayambe is close to the Equator and takes advantage of the oblate spheroid figure of Earth. More importantly, however, it being so near the Equator means that the majority of its distance from Earth's centre goes into it being away from the axis.
The highest natural lake is an unnamed crater lake on Ojos del Salado at 6,390 m (20,965 ft), on the Argentina side. Another candidate was Lhagba Pool on the northeast slopes of Mount Everest, Tibet, at an elevation of 6,368 m (20,892 ft), which has since dried up.
The highest island is one of a number of islands in the Orba Co lake in Tibet, at an elevation of 5,209 m (17,090 ft).
Highest points attainable by transportation
The highest point accessible...
...by land vehicle is an elevation of 6,688 m (21,942 ft) on Ojos del Salado in Chile, which was reached by the Chilean duo of Gonzalo and Eduardo Canales Moya on 21 April 2007 with a modified Suzuki Samurai, setting the high-altitude record for a four-wheeled vehicle.
...by road (mountain pass) is disputed; there are a number of competing claims for this title due to the definition of "motorable pass" (i.e. a surfaced road or one simply passable by a vehicle):
The highest asphalted road crosses Tibet's Semo La pass at 5,565 m (18,258 ft). It is used by trucks and buses regularly. The Ticlio pass, on the Central Road of Peru, is the highest surfaced road in the Americas, at an elevation of 4,818 m (15,807 ft).
The highest unsurfaced road has several different claimants. All are unsurfaced or gravel roads including the barely passable road to Umling, LA, 17 km (11 mi) west of Demchok in Ladakh, India, which reaches 5,800 m (19,029 ft) ("19,300 feet" according to a Border Roads Organisation sign there that recognizes it as the "World's Highest Motorable Pass"), and Mana Pass, between India and Tibet, which is crossed by a gravel road reaching 5,610 m (18,406 ft). The heavily trafficked Khardung La in Ladakh lies at 5,359 m (17,582 ft). A possibly motorable gravel road crosses Marsimik La in Ladakh at 5,582 m (18,314 ft).
...by oceangoing vessel is a segment of the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal between the Hilpoltstein and Bachhausen locks in Bavaria, Germany. The locks artificially raise the surface level of the water in the canal to 406 m (1,332 ft) above mean sea level, higher than any other lock system in the world, making it the highest point currently accessible by oceangoing commercial watercraft.
The farthest road from the Earth's centre is the Road to Carrel Hut in the Ecuadorian Andes, at an elevation of 4,850 m (15,912 ft) above sea level and a distance of 6,382.9 km (3,966 mi) from the centre of the Earth.
The lowest point underground is in the Krubera Cave in Abkhazia, where the altitude difference between the cave's entrance and the deepest explored point (the maximum depth) is 2,191 ± 20 m (7,188 ± 66 ft). In 2012, Ukrainian cave diver Gennadiy Samokhin reached the lowest point, breaking the world record.
The lowest point on land not covered by liquid water is the canyon under Denman Glacier in Antarctica, with the bedrock being 3,500 m (11,500 ft) below sea level.
The lowest point on dry land is the shore of the Dead Sea, shared by Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, 432.65 m (1,419 ft) below sea level. As the Dead Sea waters are receding, the water surface level drops more than 1 metre (3.3 ft) per year.
The point on the surface closest to the Earth's centre (interpreted as a natural surface of the land or sea that is accessible by a person) is the surface of the Arctic Ocean at the Geographic North Pole (6,356.77 km or 3,950 mi).
The point on the ground closest to the Earth's centre (interpreted as a land surface or sea floor) is the bottom of the Litke Deep, which is 6,351.61 km (3,947 mi) from the centre of the Earth. By comparison, the bottom of the deepest oceanic trench in the world, the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, is 14.7 km (9 mi) farther from the centre of the Earth.
Lowest artificial points
The lowest point underground ever reached was 12,262 m (40,230 ft) deep (SG-3 at the Kola Superdeep Borehole, which has since been enclosed).
...by road, excluding roads in mines, is any of the roads alongside the Dead Sea in Israel and Jordan, which are the lowest on Earth at 418 m (1,371 ft) below sea level.
The lowest undersea highway tunnel is the Ryfast tunnel in Norway, at 292 m (958 ft) below sea level.
...by train, excluding tracks in mines, is located in the Seikan Tunnel in Japan, at 240 m (787 ft) below sea level. For comparison, the undersea Channel Tunnel between England and France reaches a depth of 115 m (377 ft) below sea level.
Some mines have roads accessible from outside or rail tracks, located more than two thousand metres below sea level, for example in some South African gold mines.
The lowest major city is Baku, Azerbaijan, located 28 m (92 ft) below sea level, which makes it the lowest-lying national capital in the world and also the largest city in the world located below sea level.
Table of extreme elevations and air temperatures by continent
A.^ Height above sea level is the usual choice of definition for elevation. The point farthest away from the centre of the Earth, however, is Chimborazo in Ecuador (6,267 m (20,561 feet)). 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.
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 process. The 1913 reading is, however, itself controversial, and a measurement of 54.0 °C (129.2 °F) at Furnace Creek on 30 June 2013 is undisputed, especially since the same or almost the same temperature has been recorded several times in the 21st century in the same and other places.
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.
F.^ Greenland is considered by the World Meteorological Organization to be part of WMO region 6 (Europe).
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.
If adopted, this would place the final EPIA roughly 130 km (81 mi) closer to the ocean than the point that is currently agreed upon. Coincidentally, EPIA1, or EPIA2, and the most remote of the Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility (specifically, the point in the South Pacific Ocean that is farthest from land) are similarly remote; EPIA1 is less than 200 km (120 mi) closer to the ocean than the Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility is to land.
The continental poles of inaccessibility for the other continents are as follows:
The title for most remote inhabited island or archipelago (the farthest away from any other permanently inhabited place) depends on how the question is interpreted. If the south Atlantic island Tristan da Cunha (population about 300) and its dependency Gough Island (with a small staffed research post), which are 399 km (248 mi) from each other, are considered part of the same archipelago, or if Gough Island is not counted because it has no permanent residents, then Tristan da Cunha is the world's most remote inhabited island/archipelago: the main island, also called Tristan da Cunha, is 2,434 km (1,512 mi) from the island Saint Helena, 2,816 km (1,750 mi) from South Africa, and 3,360 km (2,090 mi) from South America. It is 2,260 km (1,404 mi) away from uninhabited Bouvet Island. However, if Gough and Tristan da Cunha are considered separately, they disqualify each other, and the most remote inhabited island is Easter Island in the South Pacific Ocean, which lies 2,075 km (1,289 mi) from Pitcairn Island (about 50 residents in 2013), 2,606 km (1,619 mi) from Rikitea on the island of Mangareva (the nearest town with a population over 500), and 3,512 km (2,182 mi) from the coast of Chile (the nearest continental point and the country of which Easter Island is part). The Kerguelen Islands in the southern Indian Ocean are another contender, lying 1,340 km (830 mi) from the small Alfred Faure scientific station in Île de la Possession, but otherwise more than 3,300 km (2,100 mi) from the coast of Madagascar (the nearest permanently inhabited place), 450 km (280 mi) northwest of the uninhabited Heard Island and McDonald Islands (both a part of Australia), and 1,440 km (890 mi) from the non-permanent scientific station located in Île Amsterdam.
The most remote city...
...with a population in excess of one million from the nearest city with a population in excess of one million is Auckland, New Zealand. The nearest city of comparable size or greater is Sydney, Australia, 2,168.9 km (1,347.7 mi) away.
...with a population in excess of one million from the nearest city with a population above 100,000 is Perth, Australia, located 2,138 km (1,328 mi) away from Adelaide, Australia.
...with a population in excess of 100,000 from the nearest city of at least that population is Honolulu, Hawaii, United States. The nearest city of comparable size or greater is San Francisco, 3,850 km (2,390 mi) away.
...that is a national capital from the nearest national capital is a tie between Wellington, New Zealand, and Canberra, Australia, which are 2,326 km (1,445 mi) apart from each other.
Since the Earth is a spheroid, its centre (the core) is thousands of kilometres beneath its crust. Still, there have been attempts to define various "centrepoints" on the Earth's surface.
The centre of the standard geographic model as viewed on a traditional world map is the point 0°, 0° (the coordinates of zero degrees latitude by zero degrees longitude), which is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 614 km (382 mi) south of Accra, Ghana, in the Gulf of Guinea. It lies at the intersection of the Equator and the Prime Meridian, is marked with a buoy and sometimes called Null Island. However, the selection of the Prime Meridian as the 0° longitude meridian depended on cultural and historical factors and is therefore geographically arbitrary (any of the Earth's meridians could, in principle, be defined as 0° longitude); consequently, the position of the "Null Island" centrepoint is also arbitrary.
The centre of population, the place to which there is the shortest average route for every individual human being in the world, could also be considered a "centre of the world". This point is located in the north of the Indian subcontinent, although the precise location has never been calculated and is constantly shifting due to changes in the distribution of the human population across the planet.
Dallol, Ethiopia (Amharic: ), whose annual mean temperature was recorded from 1960 to 1966 as 34.4 °C (93.9 °F). The average daily maximum temperature during the same period was 41.1 °C (106.0 °F).
Coldest inhabited place
Oymyakon (Russian?), a rural locality (selo) in Oymyakonsky District of the Sakha Republic, the Russian Federation, has the coldest monthly mean, with -46.4 °C (-51.5 °F) the average temperature in January, the coldest month. Eureka, Nunavut, Canada has the lowest annual mean temperature at -19.7 °C (-3.5 °F).
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.
Temperatures measured directly on the ground may exceed air temperatures by 30 to 50 °C. A ground temperature of 84 °C (183.2 °F) has been recorded in Port Sudan, Sudan. A ground temperature of 93.9 °C (201 °F) was recorded in Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California, United States on 15 July 1972; this may be the highest natural ground surface temperature ever recorded. The theoretical maximum possible ground surface temperature has been estimated to be between 90 and 100 °C for dry, darkish soils of low thermal conductivity.
Satellite measurements of ground temperature taken between 2003 and 2009, taken with the MODISinfrared spectroradiometer on the Aqua satellite, found a maximum temperature of 70.7 °C (159.3 °F), which was recorded in 2005 in the Lut Desert, Iran. The Lut Desert was also found to have the highest maximum temperature in 5 of the 7 years measured (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009). These measurements reflect averages over a large region and so are lower than the maximum point surface temperature.
Satellite measurements of the surface temperature of Antarctica, taken between 1982 and 2013, found a coldest temperature of -93.2 °C (-136 °F) on 10 August 2010, at 81°48?S59°18?E / 81.8°S 59.3°E / -81.8; 59.3. Although this is not comparable to an air temperature, it is believed that the air temperature at this location would have been lower than the official record lowest air temperature of -89.2 °C.
^By comparison, the meridian that passes through the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt (31°08'3.69"E) is 855 km (531 mi) shorter.
^A geodesic is defined as the shortest route between any two points on the surface of the Earth, as measured along the surface of the Earth (rather than through the Earth's interior); they are "straight lines" only in the sense that they are plotted on an idealized two-dimensional surface of the three-dimensional Earth, neglecting changes in surface elevation. On an idealized spherical model of the Earth, geodesics are equivalent to great-circle distances measured along the arcs of great circles.
^Mathieu Morlighem; Eric Rignot; Tobias Binder; Donald Blankenship; Reinhard Drews; Graeme Eagles; Olaf Eisen; Fausto Ferraccioli; René Forsberg; Peter Fretwell; Vikram Goel; Jamin S. Greenbaum; Hilmar Gudmundsson; Jingxue Guo; Veit Helm; Coen Hofstede; Ian Howat; Angelika Humbert; Wilfried Jokat; Nanna B. Karlsson; Won Sang Lee; Kenichi Matsuoka; Romain Millan; Jeremie Mouginot; John Paden; Frank Pattyn; Jason Roberts; Sebastian Rosier; Antonia Ruppel; Helene Seroussi; Emma C. Smith; Daniel Steinhage; Bo Sun; Michiel R. van den Broeke; Tas D. van Ommen; Melchior van Wessem; Duncan A. Young (12 December 2019). "Deep glacial troughs and stabilizing ridges unveiled beneath the margins of the Antarctic ice sheet". Nature Geoscience. 13 (2): 132-137. doi:10.1038/s41561-019-0510-8. S2CID209331991. Retrieved 2019.