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The Coldest Spot on Earth?

A Moment of Science looks into the Big and bad File. It's time once again for the Big and Bad File, where we talk about record-setters in nature. A question from the Big and Bad File, please.

Dear Moment of Science,

Winter has been nasty where I live--the temperature went down to zero Fahrenheit last night! So my question is: what's is the coldest spot on earth?

An excellent question for the Big and Bad file. Antarctica is one of the coldest spots in the world. It's the continent that exists at the south pole of our fair planet, five point five million square miles of freeze-your-tushy-off cold. It isn't just ice, as some people think.

There is an Australia-size land mass there, but all but a measly five percent is covered in ice, which can be thousands of feet thick. The thickest ice recorded in Antarctica was well over fifteen thousand feet deep! How cold does it get there, you ask? The record for lowest temperature was recorded on July twenty first, nineteen eighty three, at a Russian outpost known as Vostok. That record low? A bone- chilling one hundred and twenty eight point six degrees below zero Fahrenheit. That kind of cold would do a lot more than chill your bones, if you were ever unfortunate enough to be out in it.

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