What are the ‘poles of cold’?

(Image credit: Maarten Takens)

Question from Naomi Isles

We’re all familiar with the poles of our planet – the northern and southernmost points according to the spin of the Earth and the position of its magnetic field. But, the Poles of Cold are a little different. 

These are the places with the coldest air temperatures ever recorded. In the northern hemisphere, the Pole of Cold is found in the valley of Oymyakon in Siberia, Russia. The temperature there can fall to below -50 degrees Celsius on average in the winter, but in spite of the chill, it is inhabited all year round. It can
be reached using the Kolyma Highway, or Road of Bones, named for the vast number of prisoners who died building it in the 1930s.

Answered by Laura Mears for Brain Dump in How It Works issue 97.

To feature in our Brain Dump section, send us your questions to [email protected] or message us on Facebook or Twitter

For more science and technology articles, pick up the latest copy of How It Works from all good retailers or from our website now. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, subscribe today!