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The most extreme places on Earth

“We live on a beautiful planet that has a lot to offer to every living creature on it. We might be the dominant species on the planet, but we are not the most resistant species out there. There are literally millions of species out there, and we keep on discovering hundreds upon hundreds of new species every year. Recently, we have found out that living creatures can survive the harshest living conditions you could ever imagine on Earth.

As a matter of fact, it was recently discovered that bacteria can even survive inside volcanoes. As you can imagine, the conditions in there are just terrible and yet, live thrives. Beings that live in such extreme conditions are called extremophiles. Clearly, this bacteria is similar to what we would consider an alien being on Earth, but it does survive, and that is just incredible.

Apart from bacteria, there are other living beings surviving in extreme conditions – including humans. We can’t really live inside volcanoes, but we can survive in extreme conditions when compared to what is the standard environment required for us to survive and thrive as a species. So if you think the weather couldn’t get any worse out there, we’re here to give you the harshest environments on Earth where humans survive:

1 – Sahara Desert

The biggest desert on Earth had to make it into this list, for the most obvious reasons possible. We need water in order to survive, and in the middle of the desert water can be incredibly hard to find. Moreover, it is incredibly dry and the heat is so high that it would make Summer where you live in look like Winter. We see the Sahara as vast areas of sand that seem never to finish, but in reality only about 30% of the desert is made out of the sand. The rest of it is gravel.

Most of the desert is pretty much impossible to inhabit for human beings, but some small areas of it have nomadic people raising livestock and trading goods to make a living. The inhabitants of the Sahara Desert are the Tuareg people, and they might face harsh conditions, but they still thrive in such an environment.

The temperatures in the desert can have reached 58 º C (136.4 º F), but the average temperature is usually 50 º C (122 º F). If we consider the average body temperature of a human to be 37 º C (98.6 º F), we can see that there is a significant difference. And as such, we can understand how harsh it is to live in this place.

Nevertheless, the Sahara wasn’t always a desert. About 8,000 years ago, there was greenery in the area, and grains were grown. Proof of this has been found thanks to the help of cave drawings found some years ago. Recently with the help of technology, we have been able to irrigate a few areas of the Sahara, making it usable once again.

2 – Greenland

It might look like a bad joke but in reality, the nation called “Greenland” is made out of ice and mountains. Green is probably the last color you are going to be able to find in Greenland’s terrain. About 80% of the island’s surface is just an ice and other rough terrain, and even the shores of Greenland are mountainous, it is almost like it is telling visitors to go away.

The small population that the country has (less than 56,000 people) is all confined to the coastline, since the heart of the country is basically an impossible place for human beings to live in. The temperatures are incredibly low and you can imagine, ice isn’t a very good type of terrain for agriculture so resources are scarce.

The interior of the country has barely even been seen by human beings since it is just a suicide mission to go there without a lot of preparations that most people won’t even bother acquiring. The north and center of the country is mostly inhabited by polar bears, walruses, and reindeer.

The extreme north of the island has ice so dry that even the production of snow is impossible and as such, it is not covered in snow, but it is just ice and rock. Additionally, there is so much ice in Greenland if were to melt away, the world’s sea levels would rise by more than 7 m (23 ft.). And that would sink some of the lowest cities in the world.

We all need the sun to survive but for us, it is mostly a given. It goes away in the evening but then it comes back the next morning. In Greenland, it is not like that at all. In Greenland, the sun doesn’t set for three months during the summer, and in some of the coldest winter months it doesn’t even rise above the horizon.

3 – Siberia

Pretty much any kid that sees a map of the world for the first time has the same thought at first: “Wow, Russia is just huge!” It might be true that Russia is the biggest country on the planet, but it is mainly because it occupies territory that no other country wants to have because it is just so harsh to live in it.

We are, of course, talking about Siberia. Siberia is roughly 77% of the Russian territory and in such a huge area (13.1 million square kilometers) there are only 40 million people. That makes up 27% of the Russian population. The population density in Siberia is about 3 per square kilometer.

People usually associate Siberia with extreme cold, and rightfully so, but there is also a lot of heat going on in there. Recorded temperatures in Siberia have had a wide range on both ends. There have been recorded temperatures of 38 º C (100 º F – which is pretty hot), and temperatures of -67.7 º C (-90 º F) in a village called Oymaykon, which is the coldest inhabited village in the world.

Most of the Siberian territory is made out of thick Taiga forest and swamps, as well as rivers that surround the small towns that shelter human population in the area. Combine that with the terrible temperatures, and you have a place that everyone wants to escape from, but almost no one manages to do so. Siberia is so bad that it has been used as a place of exile for prisoners since they would never be able to escape from it – they wouldn’t even be found in there.

4 – The Changtang Region

The Changtang region is considered the roof of the world due to the high altitude of the area. It is at an average elevation of around 5,000 meters (16,400 ft.). It is hard for the human population to live in the area and, as time goes by, the human population is apparently going to be more and more scarce in the area.

Due to the high elevation of the area, winter is incredibly harsh and long, and the temperature drops drastically. Summer is usually pretty short in the area, but it doesn’t save the population from the recurring thunderstorms that keep on assaulting the region.

The population is only inhabited by the Changpa, which are nomadic people that reside in the area without any type of pressure from farmers or companies. Because the region is disastrous to farming and to other types of businesses. As such, the economy of the region is based on trading of livestock.

The Changpa cannot settle because the animals are overgrazing the land in the Changtang region which is making the grasses dead for about 9 months every year. As such they need to keep moving in the region in order to find food for their animals which will, in turn becomes food.

Due to overgrazing, however, the Changpa are starting to lose the ability to survive in the region, despite having numerous techniques that help them improve their sustainability. As a result, the nomadic people are forced to move into resettlement camps given to them by the government, but in these camps they will have to face unemployment as well as food and water shortages.

5 – The Australian Outback

As you have probably heard by now, the Australian Outback is filled up with creatures that don’t just want to kill humans, they also want to try them. There are numerous species of animals such as spiders and crocodiles that are ready take down a human to survive. And, as such, the hostile wildlife makes it really hard for the human population to thrive in the area.

As if the wildlife trying to take down humans wasn’t enough, the sun is fierce in the area, and the soil isn’t fertile at all. The region is mostly a desert because of the lack of fertile soil and, as such, the population is pretty low.

Mostly home to aborigine people, the Australian Outback is also home to a lot of visitors. Even though the wildlife is incredibly dangerous, the biggest problem is the heat. The temperature reaches 45 º C (113 º F) in the summer and at this temperature, it is incredibly likely to have car problems. When that happens, the people can end up being lost in the middle of the desert with wildlife trying to get a piece of their meat.

Traveler are advised by the government and by the Australian population always to carry auto spare parts just in case something happens, as well as a lot of water to drink in the case of something happening. Moreover, an emergency radio beacon is also advised so that they can ask for help.

6 – Antarctica

We can’t talk about harsh living conditions on Earth and leave Antarctica out of the list, that would be ridiculous on our half. This is the harshest place that has human beings living in it. Even though, humans can survive in this place, the permanent population of Antarctica, as it was declared in 2015, was of 0 residents – no one lives there permanently, it can’t be done.

Antarctica is so massive that it is considered a continent, but it is the coldest, windiest and driest continent in the world. Moreover, the continent is basically made out of ice, it has a little bit of rock there. However, out of the 14 million square kilometers, 98% of the area is made out of ice, and 2% of the area is rock. The ice in Antarctica averages 1,9 kilometers in thickness.

Seen as a desert due to the small amount of precipitation in the continent, there are areas of Antarctica that haven’t even seen rain in more than two million years. Moreover, the recorded lowest temperature in Antarctica was of -89 º C (-129 º F) and most of the living beings in Antarctica are bacteria and algae, but there are also animals such as nematodes, seals, penguins, and mites.

There are no villages in Antarctica as no one wants to live in there, and the human population never survived in there on its own, unlike in the rest of the world. Antarctica only sees 5,000 people per year, and these are all scientists that reside in research stations for a few months while they are learning more about the continent and about our world.

There is basically no food in the continent for human beings to eat and there aren’t really any decent conditions to hunt animals or to produce food. Scientist working in the area have to survive on ready to eat meals, which can be either civilian or military grade, depending on the mission and the nation that sent them there.

Nutrition is a serious factor there since most people go to Antarctica just to be able to work – it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It really wears out people and as such, the meals have to be carefully planned and controlled since there is no supermarket nearby if food runs out. It is possible for tourists to go to Antarctica, but they need a special permission from the government. And that can only be acquired if they manage to show that they are completely self-sufficient and capable of surviving in the region.


Even though these places make it incredibly hard for the human population to survive there. They are still part of this amazing planet that we live in and, as such, they need to be appreciated for all the beauty that they have. We, as humans, like to see diversity and like to discover everything about the unknown – this is what makes us go to these places and live there.

Certainly, most of us want to experience these harsh conditions, we want to know what it’s like in the worst places planet Earth has to offer us and that is just beautiful. Moreover, if you manage to get through the incredibly harsh living conditions. You will be able to understand the beauty and the magic that these places have and only there you will be able to find peace and true happiness. Where would be your the most extreme places on earth?”