General, Research, Technology

The hottest place on Earth: where is it and who lives there?

Some people mistakenly think that the hottestplace in the world is the Sahara Desert. In fact, this title belongs to the Deshte-Lut desert, which is located in Iran. In 2005, the surface of this point on the globe warmed up to +71 degrees Celsius. And scorching sand in this desert is a very common occurrence. If you suddenly decide to walk on the sand of this desert, it will seem to you that you are walking in a heated frying pan! Local residents even believe that if a cake is left on the hot stones of the desert, over time it will simply burn out. In general, there are 51 deserts on our planet, but information about Deshte-Lut is very difficult to find. Within the framework of this article, I propose to consider several interesting facts about the hottest desert on Earth. We will find out what plants and animals are found in these extreme conditions and whether the weather is ever comfortable there. After all, are there always extreme conditions?

Deshte Lut desert and its yardangs

The hottest desert in the world

Scientists believe that millions of years ago onthe territory of Deshte-Lut was the sea. Due to the collision of the tectonic plates below us, one day the bottom of the sea rose. As a result, the Deshte-Kevir and Deshte-Lut deserts were formed. The water either went into the sands or evaporated due to the formed hot climate. At the moment, the area of ​​the Deshte Lut desert is 51 square kilometers. Its territory is covered with yardangs - narrow furrows and sharp ridges separating them. The height of the yardangs in the Leste Lut desert reaches 80 meters. There are also many salt marshes, which are soils with readily soluble salts. Recently, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Kud-Sverchkov shared photos of unusual places in the Iranian desert.

Anyway, this is not the only thing that makes this region unique.

The #desert is dotted with giant rock formations,some of the tallest sand dunes in the world visible from the @Space_Station with the naked eye, salt flats, craters and abandoned castles. pic.twitter.com/cHc8U8KnNd

- Sergey Kud-Sverchkov (@KudSverchkov) February 7, 2021

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The Deshte-Lut desert is surrounded by mountains on all sides.Because of them, humid air from the Mediterranean and Arabian Seas simply does not reach it. As a result, the so-called "pole of heat" is formed. On the outskirts of the desert, at the foot of the mountains, there are several oases. This is the name for places in the desert where there are plants and water. Sometimes a river appears in these areas, which originates in the northern mountains of Birjand. Sometimes she tries to reach the central part of the desert, but quickly gets lost in the salt marshes. The water in the desert is very salty, so the vegetation grows very poorly. Occasionally you can find tamarisk - these are trees or shrubs that can grow up to 10 meters. You can also see wormwood and desert lichen.

Tamarisk plant

Interesting fact: the surface of the desert is very hot due to the fact that it is covered with dark pebbles. Relatively recently, the surface has heated up to 80.3 degrees Celsius, a new record.

What animals live in the desert?

The fauna of Deshte-Lut is represented by variousrodents that are nocturnal. We could not find detailed information about them. Most likely, we are talking about gophers and jerboas, which often live in desert areas. But on the other hand, in September 2020, a completely new species of crustaceans was discovered in the desert. The Phallocryptus fahimii shrimp has been found in a small lake that occurs from time to time in the southern part of the desert. According to Dr. Hossein Rajaei, these animals can survive for decades in dry sediment and hatch before the rainy season.

Phallocryptus fahimii shrimp

See also: How do snakes survive in deserts?

While the surface of the desert heats up to70-80 degrees Celsius, the air temperature is usually about +39 degrees. Despite the heat, cars often drive through the desert. The fact is that the shortest route from southern Iran to Khorasan is laid there - the historical region of the country, which is famous for the production of saffron and barberry. This is the only road in the entire desert and its length is 200 kilometers. There are no settlements on the territory of Deshte-Lut either. But motorists can stop at the so-called "namazkhans", which are intended for prayer. They have taps with water that sways from the ground.

The road passing through Deshte-Lut

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As you can see, the Deshte-Lut desert isamazing and very extreme place. But the most famous desert is still the Sahara. Very very large and no less extreme. Millions of years ago, it was generally the most dangerous place on our planet, because there were a lot of dangerous predators on its territory. What ancient monsters are my colleague Lyubov Sokovikova talking about in this article? I recommend reading!