Lut Desert is one of the driest, hottest places on Earth. It is located in eastern Iran.
Also known as Dasht-e-Lut, Lut Desert holds the record for the hottest recorded temperature on Earth. It can get as hot as 159 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius). At night, though, Lut Desert gets very cold. Temperatures can drop to below zero degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius).
Lut Desert is 20,000 square miles (51,800 square km) of sand and rock. The area is protected by mountains all the way around. Because of this “shadow,” Lut Desert receives little to no rainfall.
The landscape in the Lut Desert is varied. The east is full of some of the tallest sand dunes on Earth. The west has high ridges. And there are sinkholes and land formations throughout.
Between the months of June and October, strong winds blow through the Lut Desert. These winds move a massive amount of sand. The gusts carve corrugated ridges into the sand’s surface, leaving behind ripples like beach water. These are known as aeolian yardang landforms. Some of the biggest of these landforms are in the Lut Desert.
The winds also contribute to the massive sand dunes that the Lut Desert is known for. Sand dunes cover 40 percent of the Lut Desert. Some dunes are more than 1,500 feet (475 m) tall.
In Persian, “Lut” refers to land without water or vegetation. The area has been described as having “no life.” Still, some plants and animals do thrive in the harsh conditions of the Lut Desert. About 60 plant species grow there, and there are a number of animals. Cockroaches, geckoes, and foxes, are among them.
Most of Lut Desert receives less than 4 inches (100 mm) of rainfall each year. January and February are the rainiest months; that’s when about two-tenths of an inch of rain falls in a month.