Dasht-e Kavir: 26th Largest Desert on Earth

September 4, 2019

The Great Salt Desert Dasht-e Kavir, also known as Kavir-e Namak is a large lying desert in the middle of the Iranian plateau. It is about 800-kilometre-long and 320-kilometre-wide with a total surface area of about 77,600 km, producing it as the 26th largest desert on the Earth. It lies in the middle of the Iranian plateau, a relatively flat highland about 300 km East-Southeast of Tehran.

The desert is 800 kilometers long and 320 kilometers wide approximately.  It is composed of mud and salt marshes or kavirs. Tens of millions of years back, this area was engaged by a salty ocean that surrounds a small piece of the continent which is now known as central Iran. As the ocean dried up, it left behind a thick layer of salt about 6 to 7 kilometers.

Over time, the thick layer of mud covers thickness of the salt,  though  the salt has a fairly lower density than the layer of mud underneath. So it begins pushing up through the over imposed sediment and ultimately, after millions of year domes are formed with the salt that pass through it.

The salt domes of Dasht-e Kavir are some of the best examples of this geological incident. Geologists have found about 50 large salt domes in this region. Some of the domes have been removed away by wind and rain revealing its cross-sectional part.

Although it looks like a hard surface, the salt crust is only a few inches thick, below which lies soft grease-like mud the Iranians called “Charbeh” that is extremely difficult to get out of if one were to get stuck. Because of this travelling in Dasht-e Kavir is awfully unsafe.

Human inhabitation is restricted to the oases here and there in the desert region. Where the  houses that construction of housing are raised to deal with the harsh weather conditions. Some inhabitants restricted their livings in the hills and the surrounding mountains. Camels, wild sheep, goats and Persian leopards also live in the mountainous areas.

One of the adorable place for the photographer Dasht-e Kavir  is filled with stunning landscape, including  the sunset, sand dunes glittering like gemstones, etc..

Review #2

Iran’s central desert, Dasht-e Kavir is a broad salt land with all beauties you can find in wilderness. Right in the heart of Iran’s great plateau, the desert, 800 km long and 320 km wide, extends 300 km east and southeast of Tehran Province.

Tens of million years ago, there was a salt water lake surrounding the current arid land. Once the lake dried up, thick layers of salt were formed in the region. In fact, salt layers in the lake’s bed were buried under mud over many years. But due to low density of salt in contrast to that of mud and stone, it exerted pressure on layers on top to create amazing (almost peerless in the world) salt domes on earth’s surface. An astonishing geologic phenomenon, the desert houses about 50 salt domes, recognized so far, which have been shaped as a result of wind and rain interactions.

The barren land is not appropriate for cultivation and it is to a great extent abandoned. Explored somewhat by eager trekkers, the desert is inhabited in limited areas; the villages’ buildings here have been built in a unique structure design to resist the severe climatic conditions.

As far as wildlife is concerned, animals like goats, camels, rams and Persian leopards are seen here in the mountainous areas. Bushes exist in places.

Although it might seem like salt layers are very coarse and rough, they are actually only a few centimeters thick; beneath is a sticky mud; so watch out as you might be swamped all of a sudden. Maybe the safest journey for desert fanatics is via organized tours in Iran so you can not only take pleasure in extensive desolate land at a high level, but you can get fun opportunities like camel riding, and some enjoyable 4WD rides.

Photographers will adore the plateau where they can come across gorgeous scenes; the sunset, when sand dunes glitter like gemstones, is marvelous scenery.

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