Location within Iran
|Length||480 km (300 mi)|
|Width||320 km (200 mi)|
|Area||51,800 km2 (20,000 sq mi)|
|Official name||Lut Desert|
|Inscription||2016 (40th Session)|
The Lut Desert, widely referred to as Dasht-e Lut (Persian: دشت لوت, "Emptiness Plain"), is a large salt desert located in the provinces of Kerman and Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran. It is the world's 34th-largest desert, and was included on UNESCO's World Heritage List on July 17, 2016. The name is driven from 'Lut' which means bare and empty in Persian  and 'dasht' which means plain in Persian. The surface of its sand has been measured at temperatures as high as 70.7 °C (159.3 °F), making it one of the world's driest and hottest places.
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, and is considered to be one of the driest places on Earth.
The area of the desert is about 51,800 square kilometres (20,000 sq mi), the largest in Iran except for the 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. 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. 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.
According to one study, more than half of the desert's surface is covered by volcanic rocks. Evaporites can be observed during hot periods.
Around 2500 BC, 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.
Lut area as 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.
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. The precision of measurements is 0.5 K to 1 K.
The hottest part of Dasht-e Lut is Gandom Beryan, a large plateau covered in dark lava, approximately 480 square kilometres (190 sq mi) in area. According to a local legend, the name (Persian — "Toasted wheat")[clarification needed] 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.
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