The Lowest Points On Each Of The World's Continents

The salt-brimmed coast of the Dead Sea, earth's lowest exposed point.
The salt-brimmed coast of the Dead Sea, earth's lowest exposed point.

Sea level is the sea’s surface level at around the point where it meets the land halfway between the mean high and low tides. Sea level is not constant and is subject to fluctuations due to changing climatic conditions and in different localities. The term mean sea level was coined to refer to the measure of the average height of the sea’s surface over a long period. The measurement is used as the basis to determine elevations and depths of Earth’s geographical surfaces. The lowest points of each of the world’s continents are discussed below.

The Lowest Points Of Each Of The World's Continents

Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is not only the lowest point in Asia but is also the lowest point on Earth on dry land. The Dead Sea sits at an elevation of -1,401 feet below sea level. Its surface and coastline border Israel to its west and Jordan to its east. The Dead Sea is a landlocked salt lake and is fed primarily by the Jordan River. The Dead Sea has an unusual level of salinity which gives it natural buoyancy. People easily float on the surface of the Dead Sea. The lake has deposits of asphalt which float upon its surface. It gained its name because it is hard for marine plants and animals to survive in such saline conditions. The water from the Dead Sea is believed to have cosmetic and health benefits. Miles of desert surround the Dead Sea with warm, dry, and sunny climatic conditions.

Lake Assal

Lake Assal in Djibouti is the lowest point in Africa and the second lowest place in the world. It has an elevation of -509 feet. Lake Assal has the greatest depth in the African continent. It is a highly saline lake and serves an economic purpose for the inhabitants through the selling of its salt deposits. The region around Lake Assal is characterized by extremely high temperatures of more than 50 Degrees Celsius during the day. These temperatures cause high levels of evaporation in the Lake such that the salt deposits form a single dense carpet. Lake Assal is located in the middle of a desert characterized by scarcity of vegetation except for a few shrubs and thorny bushes. The lake does not support other marine life besides abundant bacteria. It is a crater and volcanic lake. Lake Assal is considered to be the saltiest lake in the world.

Laguna del Carbón

Laguna del Carbón, at an elevation of -344 feet, is the lowest point in South America. It is an endorheic salt water lake and has the lowest point in the Southern and Western Hemispheres. The lake region has plenty of salt marshes. It is located around 54 kilometers from the city of Puerto San Julian. Fossils have been found around the area making the lake an important archaeological zone. There is little tourist activity on the lake.

Death Valley

Death Valley is the name of the lowest point in North America. It has an elevation of -282 feet at its Badwater Basin. It is a desert valley found in Eastern California, the US in North America. Death Valley is scorching and recorded the highest temperature of 134 Degrees Fahrenheit in 1913. Death Valley is also unusually dry and records small amounts of rainfall annually. Notably, there was no rain in death valley in 1929.The valley is home to abundant species of plants and animals, some of whom are only found in its national park. Fossils have been discovered in the valley leading archaeologists to believe that there was human life in ancient age.

Caspian Sea

The Caspian Sea is the lowest point in Europe. This slightly-saline lake has an elevation of -92 feet. It borders the countries of Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran.

Other Continental Minimum Elevation Extremes

Other low points in the world’s continents and their elevations include the Deep Lake of the Vestfold Hills found in Antarctica at an elevation of -160 feet, the Caspian Sea in Europe at an elevation of -92 feet, and Lake Eyre in Australia at an elevation of -49 feet. The world similarly has geographical high points. The highest points on these continents are Mt. Everest in Asia at 29,035 feet, Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa at 19,563 feet, Aconcagua in South America at 22,831 feet, Mt. McKinley in North America at 20,320 feet, and the Vinson Massif in Antarctica at 16,066 feet. The lowest and highest points provide opportunities for adventure and scientific research prompting people to climb the highest points, and travel and sail to the lowest geographical points across the world.

The Lowest Points Of The World's Continents

RankContinentLowest pointElevation (ft)Country or territory containing lowest point
1AsiaDead Sea-1,401Israel and Jordan
2AfricaLake Assal-509Djibouti
3South AmericaLaguna del Carbón-344Argentina
4North AmericaDeath Valley †-282United States
5AntarcticaDeep Lake, Vestfold Hills †-160(none)
6EuropeCaspian Sea-92Russia
7AustraliaLake Eyre-49Australia

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