Earth’s Most Uninhabitable Places

By Sara Fathima             September 11, 2022



An abandoned town in coastal Tamil Nadu decimated by a cyclone in 1964. The powerful cyclone swept away a train and ripped up the railway lines, rendering the town uninhabitable. 

Kerguelen Islands

Indian Ocean

An overseas territory of France, also called the Desolation Islands, for their brutally cold temperatures. The last surviving settlers were evacuated from here in 1931. 

Danakil Depression 


One of the hottest places on the planet – with volcanoes, and vibrant acidic springs. Scientists have tried to understand the origins of life on Earth and the feasibility of life on Mars by studying the acidic springs here. 

St. Kilda


A settlement of the British Isles, cut off from the rest of the world for months because of storms. Disease, infant mortality, and lack of income made survival hard for the native islanders evacuated in the 1930s. 

Dry Valleys


Are largely snow-free valleys with extremely low humidity. One of the driest places on Earth that has not  seen rain for about 2 million years. Some anaerobic bacteria live under  the Taylor Glacier. 

Tinakula Island

Pacific Ocean

Located in the Solomon Islands, it has an active volcano that wipes out populations that try to settle there – including groups of Polynesians in 1840 and 1971. The island is prone to earthquakes and is partly covered in ash, making it hard for boats to dock.

Mount Everest


Unsurprisingly the highest mountain in the world is uninhabitable because of its altitude of 8848 meters– the air pressure here is only one-third of the average pressure at sea level. Its “death zone” begins at 8000 meters. 

Port Famine


A settlement along the Strait of Magellan, earned its name after a group of 300 settlers starved and froze to death in 1584. Attempts  to resettle were abandoned by  the 1840s. 



Northernmost city on Earth, originally a labour camp, experiences two months of darkness every year. The city has severe air pollution owing to mining and metal processing activities. Closer to the city’s nickel smelter, the air tastes like sulfur, and the snow is black. 

North Brother Island


Located in the East River, New York, the island was used as a quarantine facility for patients with smallpox and other diseases. One of the inmates was Mary Mallon–a healthy carrier of salmonella typhi – until her death in 1938. The island was closed to the public in 1963.