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Dasht-e Lut

Coordinates: 30°36′18″N 59°04′04″E / 30.60500001°N 59.0677777878°E / 30.60500001; 59.0677777878
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Dasht-e Lut
Dasht-e Lut is located in Iran
Dasht-e Lut
Dasht-e Lut
Location within Iran
Floor elevation108 m (354 ft)[1]
Length480 km (300 mi)
Width320 km (200 mi)
Area51,800 km2 (20,000 sq mi)
Coordinates30°36′18″N 59°04′04″E / 30.60500001°N 59.0677777878°E / 30.60500001; 59.0677777878
Official nameLut Desert
Criteriavii, viii
Inscription2016 (40th Session)

The Lut Desert, widely referred to as Dasht-e Lut (Persian: دشت لوت, "Emptiness Plain"), is a salt desert located in the provinces of Kerman and Sistan-Baluchestan, Iran. It is the world's 33rd-largest desert, and was included in UNESCO's World Heritage List on July 17, 2016.[2] The name is derived from 'Lut' which means bare and empty in Persian[3][4][5] and 'dasht' which means plain in Persian.[6][7] The surface of its sand has been measured at temperatures as high as 70.7 °C (159.3 °F),[8][9] making it one of the world's driest and hottest places.[10]


Yardangs in Lut Desert, Kerman Province, Iran

Iran is climatically part of the Afro-Asian belt of deserts, which stretches from Mauritania all the way to Mongolia. The patchy, elongated, light-colored feature in the foreground (parallel to the mountain range) is the northernmost of the Dasht dry lakes that stretch southward 300 kilometers (190 mi).[clarification needed]

Iran's geography consists of a plateau surrounded by mountains and divided into drainage basins. Dasht-e Lut is one of the largest of these desert basins, 480 kilometers (300 mi) long and 320 kilometers (200 mi) wide,[11] and is considered to be one of the driest places on Earth.[12][13][14]

The area of the desert is about 51,800 square kilometres (20,000 sq mi),[15] the largest in Iran after Dasht-e Kavir. During the spring wet season, water briefly flows down from the Kerman mountains, but it soon dries up, leaving behind only rocks, sand, and salt.

The eastern part of Dasht-e Lut is a low plateau covered with salt flats with lowest elevations around 110 m above sea level (30.398609 N, 58.493041 E). In contrast, the center has been sculpted by the wind into a series of parallel ridges and furrows, extending over 150 km (93 mi) and reaching 75 metres (246 ft) in height.[11] This area is also riddled with ravines and sinkholes. The southeast is a vast expanse of sand, like a Saharan erg, with dunes 300 metres (980 ft) high, among the tallest in the world.[11]


According to one study, more than half of the desert's surface is covered by volcanic rocks. Evaporites can be observed during hot periods. [citation needed]


Around 2500 BC, a flourishing civilization existed in this area. The ancient city of Shahdad was located on the western edge of the Lut desert. And on the eastern side, there was a giant ancient city of Shahr-i-Sokhta.

The Lut area is an important region for Iranian archaeology. Recently, an extensive archaeological survey was conducted on the eastern flank of Kerman range and close to the western fringes of Lut Desert. As a result, eighty-seven ancient sites dating from the fifth millennium BC to the late Islamic era were identified. Twenty-three of these sites are assigned to the Chalcolithic period and Bronze Age.[16]

Hottest land surface[edit]

Namak-Zar region of Dasht-e-Lut, from space

The Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer installed on NASA's Aqua satellite recorded that from 2003 to 2010 the hottest land surface on Earth is in Dasht-e Lut, with land surface temperatures reaching 70.7 °C (159.3 °F), though the air temperature is cooler.[12][13][14][17][18] The precision of measurements is 0.5 K to 1 K.[19][20] However, in 1972, the land surface at Furnace Creek at Death Valley, California, United States, reached 201 °F (94 °C).

The hottest portion of Dasht-e Lut is Gandom Beryan, a large plateau covered in dark lava, approximately 480 square kilometres (190 sq mi) in area.[21] According to local legend, the name (Persian گندم بریان, "toasted wheat") originates from an accident where a load of wheat was left in the desert which was then scorched by the heat in a few days.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "Lut desert map". Google Map.
  2. ^ "Lut Desert". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  3. ^ "معنی لوت | فرهنگ فارسی معین". www.vajehyab.com. Retrieved 4 February 2023.
  4. ^ "معنی لوت | لغت‌نامه دهخدا". www.vajehyab.com. Retrieved 4 February 2023.
  5. ^ "معنی لوت | لغت‌نامه دهخدا". www.vajehyab.com. Retrieved 4 February 2023.
  6. ^ "کویر لوت - معنی در دیکشنری آبادیس".
  7. ^ "لوت - معنی در دیکشنری آبادیس".
  8. ^ Mildrexler, D.; M. Zhao; S. W. Running (October 2006). "Where Are the Hottest Spots on Earth?". EOS. 87 (43): 461, 467. doi:10.1002/eost.v87.43.
  9. ^ Mildrexler, D.; M. Zhao; S. W. Running (2011). "Satellite Finds Highest Land Skin Temperatures on Earth". Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 92 (7): 850–860. Bibcode:2011BAMS...92..855M. doi:10.1175/2011BAMS3067.1.
  10. ^ "Dasht-e Lut, the hottest desert in the world". Sand-boarding.com. Retrieved 6 December 2022.
  11. ^ a b c Oliver E. Allen; et al. (1980). Richard L. Scheffel; Susan J. Wernert (eds.). Natural Wonders of the World. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-89577-087-5.
  12. ^ a b "Satellites seek global hot spots". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 4 February 2023.
  13. ^ a b Williams, Matt (17 September 2015). "Planet Earth". Retrieved 4 February 2023.
  14. ^ a b "Images of the Day – Images – redOrbit". Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 9 April 2010.
  15. ^ Wright, John W., ed. (2006). The New York Times Almanac (2007 ed.). New York, NY: Penguin Books. p. 456. ISBN 978-0-14-303820-7.
  16. ^ Eskandari, N., Mollasalehi, H. (2017). Prehistoric Settlement Trends on the West of Lut Desert, Southeastern Iran. Journal of Archaeological Studies, 8(2), 1-15. doi:10.22059/jarcs.2017.61722
  17. ^ "The Hottest Spot on Earth". earthobservatory.nasa.gov. 24 November 2006. Retrieved 4 February 2023.
  18. ^ Weather Iran Archived 13 December 2004 at the Wayback Machine (in Persian)
  19. ^ MOD 11 - Land Surface Temperature and Emissivity, MODIS Website
  20. ^ Zhengming Wan (April 1999) MODIS Land-Surface Temperature Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document (LST ATBD) Version 3.3
  21. ^ A Journey To Earth's Hottest Point

External links[edit]