The Lut Desert
May 19, 2022
Before venturing into the desert itself, we stop at the ruins of an ancient town, an abandoned caravanserai, and a sign for the Nebka Park.
Around the sign are sand “dunes” raised several meters above the stony, completely lifeless level ground. The dunes contain complete ecosystems of trees whose roots hold the whole structure together against the forces of wind and possibly even occasional rain.
The trees exude sap and may be hundreds of years old. As the tress grow higher, the dunes continue to rise as the sand adheres to the sap.
Dasht-e Lut is a large desert lying in the middle of the Iranian Plateau. It is about 800 kilometers (500 mi) long by 320 kilometers (200 mi) wide with a total surface area of about 77,600 km2 (30,000 sq mi), making it the world's 24th largest desert.
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.
According to one study, more than half of the desert's surface is covered by volcanic rocks.
Around 2500 BCE, a flourishing civilization existed in this area. The ancient city of Shahdad was located on the western edge of Lut desert. And on the eastern side, there was a giant ancient city of Shahr-i-Sokhta.
The hottest land surface on Earth was recorded in Dasht-e Lut with land surface temperatures reaching 70.7 °C (159.3 °F), though the air temperature is cooler.
During our visit the air temperature reached at least 41 C. 106 F.
No problem for us Lovers of the Desert!