The Dasht-e Lut Desert, which is also known as the Lut Desert, is an extensive salty desert that is in the southeastern side of Iran. More specifically, it is located in three provinces namely Kerman, Baluchestan, and Sistan. Compared to other deserts in the world in terms of sheer size, the Lut Desert is at position 27. The name “Lut” is an Arabic reference to Prophet Lot. This prophet is the same as the Lot from the Bible’s Old Testament as well as from the Qur’an. In the religious texts, he was a messenger of God who was sent to Sodom and Gomorrah.
Description And Location
The Lut Desert is part of the Dasht dry lake basins (that are now deserts) in Iran alongside the Dasht-e Loot, Dasht-e Kavir, and other smaller ones. The Dasht-e Lut has an area of about 20,000 square miles and is among the largest in the vicinity. Dasht-e Loot has a length of 300 miles and a width of 200 miles which translates to a massive 60,000 square miles.
The Lut Desert is renowned for its picturesque landscape especially when viewed from the sky. Arguably, the most impressive of these formations on the landscape are the yardangs. Essentially, yardangs are huge sand dunes that are stacked in a way that they appear corrugated. These features are more common in the west of the desert. On the other end of the desert, the east, there is a massive sand-sea due to the strong winds that also adds to the impressiveness of the desert. To add to the beauty in the desert, the area is undisturbed by human beings or animals. There are more landforms in the region but these two are the most visible due to sheer size.
Hottest Land Surface
According to equipment installed by NASA which was recording data from 2003 to 2010, the Dasht-e Lut has the hottest land temperature on earth. The data recorded showed that the surface temperatures in the desert have hit an intense 159.3 °F (70.7 °C) at some point. This high temperature only applies to the surface though, the air temperatures are much cooler.
These high temperatures were recorded in the Gandom Beryan (which means “toasted wheat”) region of the desert. This particular region is a part of the desert that is covered with dark lava spanning an area of approximately 190 square miles. The name of this part of the desert, according to legend, came when wheat was left on the lava accidentally only for it to be charred by the searing heat.
The ecosystem of the desert has been vastly unexplored to date because of the unforgiving conditions. Also, most researchers feel like the desert is not worth the effort of studying as it may not sustain any life within. However, a team that braved the desert uncovered a fully functioning ecosystem. There are several insects, desert foxes, and reptiles. Questions as to how the ecosystem supports itself may be answered by the dead migratory birds and a shallow basin of salty water. Obviously, there is more to be explored since these two cannot be the only things sustaining the ecosystem but the knowledge is a start consider there was none before.