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It seems like among those basic science facts: Water boils in ~ 212 levels Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius), right? Well, not always. It depends on wherein you’re act the boiling.

In fact, water will certainly boil at about 202 levels in Denver, because of the reduced air pressure at together high elevations. In Pew research Center’s recent survey on scientific research knowledge, only 34% of americans knew that water boils in ~ a lower temperature in the Mile High City than in Los Angeles, i beg your pardon is close come sea level. This was the inquiry in ours quiz that the fewest civilization answered correctly: 26% claimed they assumed water would boil at a higher temperature in Denver, while 39% said it would boil at the same temperature in both places.

The boiling allude of water, or any liquid, varies according to the bordering atmospheric pressure. A fluid boils, or begins turning to vapor, when its inner vapor pressure amounts to the atmospheric pressure. Because that instance, once you heat your tea kettle on a stovetop, you’re creating an ext water vapor; when the water’s vapor push rises enough to exceed the bordering air pressure, bubbles start to kind and the water boils.

But press drops as you obtain elevation – say, by driving native Los Angeles to Denver – since there are fewer air molecules pushing on you. In Denver, the atmospheric pressure is only around 12 pounds every square inch, compared with 14.7 pounds every square inch in Los Angeles. With the much much less pressure, friend don’t need to use as much heat to push vapor pressure beyond the neighboring atmospheric push – in various other words, water boils at a lower temperature. Placing a fluid in a partial vacuum likewise will reduced its cook point. The reason is the same: by removing several of the air surrounding the liquid, you’re lowering the atmospheric push on it.

In La Rinconada, a mining town in the Peruvian Andes that, at more than 16,700 feet, is the highest possible permanently inhabited town in the world, water will boil at around 181 degrees. To be you of a mind to brew yourself a pretty cup that tea in ~ the peak of mountain Everest (29,029 feet), you’d only have actually to bring your water increase to around 162 levels for it to boil. At an additional extreme, in Death Valley, Calif. – the lowest point in the U.S., at 282 feet below sea level – water boils in ~ slightly above 212 degrees.

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The lower atmospheric pressures at high elevations affect cooking and baking, too, i beg your pardon is why many recipes and also mixes come through special “high altitude” directions. Cooking generally takes longer at elevations over 3,000 feet or so, and foods have tendency to dry out faster. Doughs will certainly rise faster (because gases increase more) and liquids in batters evaporate faster.