10 Most Uninhabitable Places on Earth

by Unbelievable Facts6 years ago

6 Centralia, Pennsylvania

Centralia is a near-ghost town known for its underground mine fire that has been ongoing since 1962. The air is fouled by poisonous smoke. In 2013, it is estimated that only seven people live there.

Centralia, Pennsylvania
Image credits: JohnDS/wikimedia, JohnDS/wikimedia

Centralia, once home to more than 1,000 people, is a near-ghost town that’s been burning for half a century. It started with a fire intentionally set to burn out a landfill but the problem was that the landfill was also an old strip-mine pit connected to underground mining tunnels full of coal. Even though the fire above the ground was extinguished, a much bigger inferno burned underneath, and it eventually spread across the entire town.  Finally, between 1985 and 1991, the federal government appropriated $42 million to relocate residents and businesses because of the risk of pollution and subsidence.

It is said that there is enough coal underneath to keep the fire burning for another 250 years. The ground is filled with cracks from which poisonous smoke rises and it remains warm even during winters. (source)

7 The Death Valley, California

Death Valley is one of the hottest places on earth with temperatures often reaching as high as 130 degrees. It’s the lowest, driest, and hottest spot in the United States.

The Death Valley, California
Image credits: NASA/wikimedia, Pixabay

Death Valley holds the record for the highest temperature on Earth – 134°F on July 10, 1913. The temperature is so hot that it can easily cause death. This makes the place one of the most uninhabitable places on Earth. The average adult will need about four gallons of water to make it out unharmed.

The place is also one of the lowest points in the United States. The Valley’s Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level. There is a low level of “bad water” – where the site gets its name – in the basin from a nearby spring that is undrinkable. But this water seems to attract a good deal of flora and fauna. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife. Despite the ghastly name of the place, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley. (source)


8 Wittenoom, Western Australia

Wittenoom, once famous for mining blue asbestos, is one of the most contaminated places in Australia. The town was shut down in 1966. Three people still live in the city as of 2017.

Warning Signboard, Wittenoom, Western Australia
Image credits: Five Years/wikimedia, Five Years/wikimedia

Wittenoom was a former site of a major blue asbestos mine. The mine operated from the late ’30s to the ’60s. For a span of 30 years, Wittenoom was the sole provider of blue asbestos in Australia.

Mining was shut down at Wittenoom after a link was discovered between asbestos and mesothelioma, a type of cancer, and other deadly diseases. Once the mine was shut down, many of the mining families moved on to other towns. But when it was discovered that the entire town had been contaminated by asbestos, the Australian government made moves to relocate the remaining townspeople, starting in 1978.

The town has nearly 3 million tons of asbestos tailings left around after the mining operation was abandoned. This makes this town one of the most contaminated places in the country. Officials tried to wipe Wittenoom off the map, even removing the town from maps and road signs. The town was also cut from the power grid to discourage settlers, but there are still three residents who call Wittenoom their home as of 2017. They claim that they love the isolation that the town provides. (source)

9 Kabwe, Zambia

Kabwe has been termed as the world’s most toxic town. There is too much lead dust in the soil and metals in the water as result of extensive mining.

Lead Mines, Kabwe, Zambia
Image credits: Larry C Price via theguardian.com, Larry C Price via theguardian.com

Kabwe is the world’s most toxic town according to pollution experts. Mass lead poisoning has damaged the brains and other organs of generations of children. The blood levels of lead in children in Kabwe are also known to be very high with a vast majority being over 45 micrograms per decilitre. Such high lead content in blood has the potential to cause brain, liver, and hearing damage. Some were over 150 micrograms per decilitre, at which point death is the most likely outcome. The safety limit is five micrograms per decilitre.


As of 2015, NGOs have started cleaning up the first homes. The project is funded by Germany’s Terrre des Hommes and delivered by Environment Africa and Pure Earth. More than 120 homes have had the soil in their yards replaced with clean soil from elsewhere. (source)

10 North Sentinel Island, Andaman Islands

This island is home to a group of indigenous people called the Sentinelese who, often violently, reject any contact with the outside world, and are among the last people worldwide to remain virtually untouched by modern civilization.

North Sentinel Island, Andaman Islands
Image credits: NASA/wikimedia, Love Bite Productions/youtube via dailymail.co.uk

North Sentinel Island is the most isolated island in the world. The island is home to the Sentinelese tribe who have lived on the island for more than 65,000 years. They are believed to be the direct descendants of the first humans out of Africa.

They fiercely maintain their isolation to this day. No one knows what language they speak or what they call themselves. They have never allowed anyone to get close enough to find out. They are prepared to attack anyone approaching the island. This has made the island one of the most uninhabitable places on the planet.

The Indian government has declared the entire island and its surrounding waters, up to 5.6 kilometers, to be an exclusion zone. (source)

Also read: 10 Lesser-Known Facts About North Sentinel Island

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