World Facts

Ten Lowest Places On Earth

The lowest, exposed, natural points of land on the earth's surface, by elevation relative to sea level.

The earth's surface is mostly at or below sea level, as 71 percent of our planet is covered by water. Interestingly enough, today there are many areas of the earth that are under water which 18,000 years ago, during the Great Ice Age, were above water level. This was because the sea level then was 130 meters lower. These are caused by below-sea-level-depressions, including those whose origins are from tectonic plates whose centers spreading open or deforming, while some are volcanic. Some of our greatest desert areas are specially prone to be lower, where the evaporation of where water once stood has been the greatest.

Most of the depressions listed below have depths that are constantly changing according to shifting patterns in rainfall, water evaporation, human water consumption, flooding, and runoffs from nearby rivers and streams. The depressions that feature lakes or rivers may sometimes altogether disappear or reappear, depending on the seasonal water supply changes from natural sources. There are others among the lowest points on earth that are both under sea level and covered with ice. Points not listed herein are those points on the ocean floors or within caves, as we have only listed exposed lands. Even some of the world's greatest cities lie below sea level, including Bangkok, Amsterdam, and New Orleans. These, however, cannot compare themselves in terms of the depths at which those land areas listed below can claim to reach.

10. Salton Sea, USA, -227 feet

The tenth spot belongs to the Salton Trough, which is located between the United States and Mexico. It is 69 meters below sea level, a mere two meters higher than the lowest point in the U.S., the not-so-distant Death Valley.

9. Vpadina Akchanaya, Turkmenistan, -266 feet

The ninth place belongs to the Akchanaya Depression. This is located in Turkmenistan, and is 81 meters below sea level. Its location is in the Karakum Desert, which is one of the most arid areas in that country.

8. Death Valley, USA, -282 feet

Ranking eighth is Death Valley, which is in one of the hottest deserts in the United States. It is 86 meters below sea level. Occasionally, heavy rains will create flash floods, that in turn cause a lake to form at the bottom of the desert valley.

7. Laguna del Carbon, Argentina, -344 feet

The seventh place spot goes to the nation of Argentina, which is home to the San Julian Great Depression. It is 105 meters below sea level and situated in the Laguna del Carbon. The latter features salt marshes, and it is also known as the lowest location in both the Southern and Western Hemispheres.

6. Denakil, Ethiopia, -410 feet

Our sixth spot goes to the Denakil Depression, located in Ethiopia. It is in the Indian, Arabian, and African Afar Depression, caused by the motions of the three tectonic plates. It lies 125 meters below sea level.

5. Vpadina Karagiye, Kazakhstan, -433 feet

Fifth spot goes to the Vpadina Karagiye Depression. Its location is in the southwestern portion of Kazakhstan. It is 132 meters below sea level, located in a landlocked country that was a former satellite of the Soviet Union.

4. Qattara Depression, Egypt, -435 feet

Fourth place goes to the Qattara Depression in Egypt. It is 133 meters below sea level, and located in the Libyan Desert of Egypt. The area has some nomadic tribes who use it as herding ground.

3. Turpan Pendi, China, -505 feet

Ranking third is a unique place in China, namely the Turpan Pendi. Located in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of western China, this depression is 154 meters below sea level. This is considered as the driest and hottest place in China.

2. Lake Assal, Djibouti, -509 feet

Our second spot belongs to Lake Assal in Djibouti, which is also the saltiest lake on earth. Located in the Afar Depression and at 155 meters below sea level, the lake has some of the driest and hottest weather on earth. Assal straddles the Indian, Arabian, and African tectonic plates.

1. Dead Sea, Israel/Jordan, -1360 feet

The title of the lowest place on earth goes to the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea lies in a depression straddling three countries, namely Jordan, Israel, and Syria, that also encompasses the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee. It also forms part of several countries' communities and some of their most important cultivated agricultural lands. Although rain and evaporation are constantly changing its level, some of its shoreline are still 413 meters below water level.

More in World Facts