Where does it get so cold that even the thermometer stops working? The coldest, inhabited place in the world is in Siberia and makes the common winter look like just a chilly day.
The temperature in the world’s coldest village reached near-record lows, so much so that their digital thermometer broke as a result. Oymyakon is a village in the Russian region of Yakutia. It’s named after the Oymyakon River, which literally translates to mean: “unfrozen patch of water; place where fish spend the winter.”
The thermometer, which was installed in Oymyakon as a tourist attraction, recorded -62C, before malfunctioning. Meanwhile the Siberian Times reports that some locals had readings as low as -67°C – in touching distance of the record -67.7°C, which was recorded in the village in February 1933.
Around 500 people live in the village of Oymyakon and they haven’t been letting the frost stop them from going about their lives as normal. The extreme cold does not seem to bother the lively bunch. On average, the temperature drops to minus 50°C in January.
Anastasia Gruzdeva, a 24-year-old woman from Yakutsk in Russia, posted a selection of photos on Instagram showing her and her friends with frozen eyelashes as they braved the harsh outdoors.
Petr Chugunov, a photographer from Yakutsk, took a stunning photo of a brave ballerina gracefully performing on the street.
There are several reasons eastern Siberia’s cold is typically on another level from that felt in many other northern latitudes.
- It’s located in a river valley: Cold air is denser and, therefore, settles into the lower elevations at night.
- It’s surrounded by mountains: Cold air drains down the slopes of the mountains and is trapped in the valley. The mountains form a U-shape, with the open side of the letter “U” pointed north.
- Its far northern latitude: At roughly 63 degrees north latitude, there are only about 3 hours of sunshine around the winter solstice.
- Its persistent snow cover: While precipitation is generally light in the moisture-starved frigid-cold air mass, what snow does fall stays put, reflecting the sun’s limited energy.