Gandom Beryan in Lut Desert - hottest place on Earth
|Coordinates:||31.0562 N 57.6548 E|
|No:||160 (list of all attractions)|
|Address:||Asia, Iran, Kerman province, black lava plateau 70 km north from Shahdad.|
|Alternate names:||Gandom-e Beryan, Rig-e Soukhteh|
Plain in Lut Desert. This is not Gandom Beryan but has similarities, including lack of life.
ninara, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
Land surface temperatures in 2003 - 2005, MODIS. The lighter the color, the hotter it is. Lut Desert in Iran is the hottest.
NASA Earth Observatory, public domain.
There are several contenders for the title "The hottest place on Earth" but Gandom Beryan in Lut Desert, Kerman province is one of the few where this is proven with scientific methods.
The hottest land in the world
In 2003 - 2005 there was performed valuable and interesting scientific work - mapping of the soil surface temperature of Earth. NASA's satellite "Aqua" with a help of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flied overhead circa 1:30 in the day the whole planet and recorded the temperature of the soil surface.
For calculations of land surface temperatures was used MOD11 methodology with accuracy of 1 - 0.5K. This is specific methodology measuring how hot the surface of the Earth would feel to the touch. One can see how hot the Earth felt every month from February 2000 to September 2010 in this animation of NASA Earth Observatory.
The results of this mission can be considered to be a fairly trustable source of information: and these results show that in 2004 and in 2005 the hottest place on Earth was exactly Lut desert in Iran. It is logical to suppose that the dark colored Gandom-e Beryan plateau is the hottest place here. MODIS data indicated that temperatures often reach even 71°C temperature here.
This is not the hottest place of the world in all "disciplines": for example, the air above the surface here is not the hottest (Meteorologists traditionally measure the temperature of air at 2 m height). In this respect record goes to Al-Aziziyah, Libya, where in 1922 was registered the maximum temperature of 57.7°C.
Gandom Beryan is a 480 km² large plateau covered with dark lava. The source of this rock is a bit of a mystery as there are no volcanoes in vicinity.
Plateau is located in Shahdad Desert - part of Lut Desert. No roads lead to this remote plateau.
Temperatures on the top of plateau are bearable only in November - April. It is extremely silent here. Sky in the night is unusually clean and filled with stars - after all this is one of the driest places on Earth and water vapour does not disturb the view.
There are seen no life forms and it seems that there are no microorganisms here. Sterilised milk dries out without getting sour. There are stories about mummified corpses of animals lying on stones for years.
Theoretically the maximum temperatures of soil, if they exceed 70°C, should be enough to fry an egg.
Down, right next to the base plateau, there is a river valley with green plants in it - thus it is not true that Lut desert is totally lifeless. Also air and soil temperatures below are more bearable. But it is also true that in many other places Lut desert is completely lifeless too.
Name of the plateau means "Scorched Wheat". There is a story that the name originated from the following event:
In 1950ies a caravan with camels bringing a load of wheat was going through the desert from Shahdad to Khorasan. Due to an accident they had to leave the wheat in the desert near the Gandom Beryan hill. Few days later drivers of another caravan noted the abandoned load - the grains were scorched due to the heat. Since then the hill got its present name.
Surroundings of Gandom Beryan have otherworldy beauty and lately are turning into a popular eco-tourism place.
See Gandom Beryan on the map of Iran!
- The Hottest spot on Earth, NASA Earth Observatory, visited in 31st October 2010.
- MODIS land team validation, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, visited in 1st November 2010.
- Zhengming Van, MODIS Land-Surface Temperature Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document (LST ATBD), Version 3.3., April 1999. Visited in 1st November 2010.