Wonder

Gandom Beryan in Lut Desert – the hottest place on Earth

Plain in Lut Desert, Iran. This is not Gandom Beryan but has similarities, including lack of life
Plain in Lut Desert. This is not Gandom Beryan but has similarities, including lack of life / ninara, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

WorldBlue  In short

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.

4.4 out of 10 stars 43.8%

GPS coordinates
31.0562 N 57.6548 E
Location, address
Asia, Iran, Kerman province, black lava plateau 70 km north from Shahdad
Meteorological phenomena, Geographical extremes
Alternate names
Gandom-e Beryan, Rig-e Soukhteh
UNESCO World Heritage status
Part of "Lut Desert", 2016, No.1505

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

The hottest place on Earth

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) flew overhead around 1:30 the day around the whole planet and recorded the temperature of the soil surface.

Land surface temperatures in 2003 - 2005, MODIS. The lighter the color, the hotter it is. Lut Desert in Iran is the hottest
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

For calculations of land surface temperatures was used MOD11 methodology. It had an accuracy of 1 – 0.5 K. This is a 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 the air at 2 m height). In this respect, the record goes to the Furnace Creek Ranch, California, USA: there in July 1913 was registered the maximum temperature of 56.7°C.

Dark plateau

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 the vicinity.

Plateau is located in Shahdad Desert – part of Lut Desert. No roads lead to this remote plateau.

Temperatures on the top of the 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 vapor does not disturb the view.

There are seen no life forms and it seems that there are no microorganisms here. Sterilized 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.

Scorched wheat

Name of the plateau means "Scorched Wheat". There is a story that the name originated from the following event:

In the 1950s 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. A 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 otherworldly beauty and lately are turning into a popular eco-tourism place.

References:
  1. The Hottest spot on Earth, NASA Earth Observatory, accessed in the 31st October 2010.
  2. MODIS land team validation, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, accessed in the 1st November 2010.
  3. Zhengming Van, MODIS Land-Surface Temperature Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document (LST ATBD), Version 3.3., April 1999. Accessed in the 1st November 2010.
  4. Arizona State University. World: Highest temperature.
Gandom Beryan is included in the following list:

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