Yungay – the driest place in the world

Landscape near Antofagasta, not too far from Yungay, Chile

The driest place in the world without any signs of life. Only a few specific microorganisms – extremophiles – are present here. Some areas are rich with nitrates – easily soluble minerals that in other circumstances are consumed by organisms. Here rich nitrate deposits have been formed from atmospheric nitrogen, possibly by lightning.

Gandom Beryan in Lut Desert – hottest place on Earth

Plain in Lut Desert, Iran. This is not Gandom Beryan but has similarities, including lack of life

Lifeless desert with dark lava surface. According to the satellite data surface of this desert heats up to 71° C – what makes this the hottest land surface on Earth. The temperature of the atmosphere here often is above 50° C. This is also one of the driest places on Earth.

Poas Volcano and Laguna Caliente

Laguna Caliente in Poás crater in white color

Very active and unusual volcano with Laguna Caliente – lake of extreme acidity reaching up to 0.0 of pH. Frequent phreatic eruptions may eject this acid up to 1 kilometer high. Around the volcano, all the vegetation is stunted brown and black by the extremely acid clouds coming from this lake.

Markansu Desert – Valley of Tornadoes

Dust storm in Markansu dry valley - Valley of Tornadoes, Tajikistan

Broad, flat, almost lifeless plateau between mountain ridges, located at the height of 4 km above the sea level. Location with an extremely harsh climate, constant strong winds, and storms. Very frequently can be observed dust devils and small tornadoes.

Katabatic winds at Commonwealth Bay

Storm at Mawson Hut, Antarctica

Windiest place on Earth with very frequent storms. The speed of wind here occasionally exceeds 90 m/s – 320 km/h. These specific winds are called katabatic winds that might last for days. Fast-moving ice crystals may cause unusual electric effects.

Ridge A – the best place for astronomy research on Earth

Satellite data and climatic models show that this area has extremely clear sky and is the best suited place on Earth for astronomical research. Average winter temperature here is -70°C and it is possible that here might be experienced the lowest temperatures on Earth. This site also is very dry and devoid of wind. Ridge A is very remote place and most likely humans have not been there.

Dome A – coldest place on Earth

This is Dome C, 1200 km from Dome A, taken from 32 m height. Landscape at Dome A looks the same. Antarctica

The highest ice feature in Antarctica (4,093 m), under the dome are Gamburtsev Mountains – mountain range larger than European Alps. Dome A has very dry and rather calm climate. Satellite data and climatic models show that this is the coldest place on Earth. Average winter temperature here is -70°C but theoretically it may reach -102°C.

Cherrapunji (Sohra)

335 m tall Nohkalikai Falls falling from Cherrapunji plateau are fed just by 2 km long stream. Without heavy rains it would be much smaller

The rainiest site in the world, except for the nearby Mawsynram. Cherrapunji nowadays gets 11,430 mm per year. In some years rainfall is much higher – up to 24,555 mm in Cherrapunji. Most of the rain falls in June – August.


A town with the highest measured rainfall in the world. Mawsynram gets 11,873 mm per year – 20 times more than in London. Most of the rain falls in June – August.