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Iran's Lut Desert inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List

Source: Tehran Times

TEHRAN - The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) registered Iran's Lut Desert on World Heritage List during 40th session of the World Heritage Committee on Sunday.

Lut Desert (Dasht-e Loot)
Sand dunes in Rig-e Yallan © Naser Mizban

"The Lut Desert is located in the south-east of Iran. Between June and October, this arid subtropical area is swept by strong winds, which transport sediment and cause aeolian erosion on a colossal scale.

Consequently, the site presents some of the most spectacular examples of aeolian yardang landforms (massive corrugated ridges). It also contains extensive stony deserts and dune fields," the UNESCO website described.

Earlier on Friday, the committee inscribed eleven Persian qanats, gently sloping underground channels with a series of vertical access shafts, used to transport water from an aquifer under a hill, on the World Heritage List.

The session was opened on July 10 in Istanbul and closed on Sunday.

Lut Desert

Iran's geography consists of a plateau surrounded by mountains and divided into drainage basins. Lut Desert is one of the largest of these desert basins, 480 kilometers (300 mi) long and 320 kilometers (200 mi) wide, and is considered to be one of the driest places on Earth.


Area of the desert is about 51,800 square kilometres (20,000 sq mi). The other large basin is the Dasht-e Kavir. During the spring wet season, water briefly flows down from the Kerman mountains, but it soon dries up, leaving behind only rocks, sand, and salt.

The eastern part of Lut Desert 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 (93 mi) and reaching 75 metres (246 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 metres (980 ft) high, among the tallest in the world. (read more on wikipedia)

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