Dec

21

 I found a couple of fascinating articles about the inhospitable Lut Desert –a nascent "hot" spot for Iranian tourism. It is the hottest location on the planet. It is a place where the ecosystem survives on migrating birds dropping dead from the sky and on a layer of hypersaline groundwater.

"The incredible ecosystem of Earth’s hottest spot":

In March 1937, Gabriel finally conquered the central Lut—and barely made it out alive. He described his experiences a year later in a spellbinding talk to the Royal Geographical Society in London. Late one afternoon, Gabriel recounted, "the landscape darkened under red clouds … and a noise like the roaring of the sea began." The dust storm raged into the night. "For several anxious hours we lay, motionless and helpless, outstretched on the ground." Later, the voyagers were disoriented by mirages that were most vivid when the air was coolest, just before sunrise. Near the end of the 3-week journey, even their parched camels had had enough: "Their legs trembled; they panted, knelt down, and sometimes crept along on their knees."

"Into the furnace in Iran":

Summer is when the mercury peaks but this is also the time of the Wind of 120 Days. This north-easterly can blow for days on end, reaches hurricane force, and whips up great billowing clouds of hot sand and dust. Further east, this gritty gale strips trees of their leaves and causes structural damage to buildings due to sandblasting. The Wind of 120 Days is also responsible for the Lut's dramatic terrain. Millions of years of sandblasting have produced thousands of streamlined ridges known locally as kaluts, wind-carved grooves in the landscape on a huge scale. Some of these ridges are tens of metres high and several kilometres long. They occupy an area of nearly 8,000 square kilometres.


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