Dasht-e Lut desert: the hottest place on earth?

Iran’s Dasht-e Lut desert, also known simply as Lut Desert, is only the 25th largest desert in the world, but it holds another record: the highest and surface temperature ever recorded with over 70 degrees Celsius! Dasht-e Lut (Persian for “Emptiness Plain”) is a large salt desert that, scientists believe, formed on the bottom of a sea. Millions of years ago, tectonic shifts caused the bottom of the sea to rise, with the water slowly evaporating due to the high temperatures. Today, the area is a barren land about 51,800…

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Kolmanskop – Namibia: the remains of diamond fever taken over by the desert.

We are in Namibia: people flocked to the area that later became known as Kolmanskop after the discovery of diamonds, in 1908. Here, Zacharias Lewala, a regular railway worker, picked up what he thought was an unusually shiny stone, and showed it to his supervisor, August Stauch, who immediately applied for a prospector’s license. Verification confirmed that the first diamond in the region had been found. The diamonds were in such supply that they could be picked off the ground by bare hands, and soon the area was flooded with…

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Al `Arish: an abandoned fishing village in pre-oil Qatar.

We are in Qatar. Abandoned villages once inhabited by fisherman and pearl drivers speckle the northern coast. They’re usually small, and at times boasting no more than five or six houses. Al `Arish (sometimes spelled Al-Areesh, in arabic العريش ), is one of the largest, with about 40 buildings in all. Despite its name, which comes from the Arabic word “Arish”, for “palm trees”, this abandoned village is far from a verdant oasis. However, it seems it was named so after palm trees once in the area which shaded the…

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Chloride, Arizona: a living Ghost Town~

Located just a short drive from the abandoned (and almost disappeared) town of Santa Claus, Chloride seems to resemble any kitschy Wild West village turned tourist trap. However, if you look a little deeper, you’ll find something that makes this ghost town stand out: a wonderfully unusual collection of junk art and a display of giant murals! The city is an old silver mining camp in Mohave County and the oldest continuously inhabited mining town in the state. Scientifically, chloride is an ion used to desalinate seawater into drinking water,…

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Hi Jolly: Quartzsite’s legend of a camel driver~

The thing most people notice right away when they enter the Quartzsite Cemetery is a stone pyramid topped by a copper camel. There’s an insteresting story behind its presence. The monument marks the grave site of a man they called Hi Jolly, who came to this country in the 1860s to act as a camel driver for the U.S. Army during an ill-fated attempt to use the animals as beasts of burden for military purposes in the deserts of the Southwest. During the mid-1800’s when much of the southwest of…

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Travelers Monument: one of the most curious parts of the journey on the Mojave Road, California~

The Mojave Road, is a historic route across what is now the Mojave National Preserve in the Mojave Desert in the United States. This rough road stretched 147 miles (237 km) and today has become a famous trek for off-road enthusiasts. The Old Mojave Road was first used by Native Americans, then Spaniards, and later early American settlers to make their way west through the dangerous Mojave Desert. The traveler’s Monument is one of the most curious parts of the journey on the Mojave Road. This large pile of rocks…

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