Dunes of the Dasht-e Lut Desert, Iran
Iran’s geography consists of a plateau surrounded by mountains and divided into drainage basins. The Dasht-e Lut, a large salt desert in southeastern Iran, is one of the largest of these desert basins.
It is 480 kilometers (300 miles) long and 320 kilometers (200 miles) wide. The Dasht-e Lut has an area of about 51,800 square kilometers (20,000 mi²).
It is also one of the driest and hottest desert basins. Surface temperatures in the Lut desert were reported as high as 71 °C (159 °F), the hottest temperature ever recorded on the surface of the Earth.
This region, which covers an area of about 480 kilometers, is called Gandom Beriyan (the toasted wheat). Its surface is wholly matted with volcano lava. This dark cover absorbs excessive sunshine which, due to difference of temperature with neighboring elevations, forms a wind tunnel.
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 (90 miles) and reaching 75 m (250 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 m (1000 ft) high, among the tallest in the world.