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a desert in Iran, in the northern part of the Iranian plateau. It is about 500 km long and about 250 km wide and covers an area of about 55,000 sq km. It is made up of a number of drainless depressions (elevation 600-800 m), with clayey takyrs and crustal solonchaks (Daryacheh-ye Namak). On the periphery of the desert are salt marshes, lakes that dry up, and sand massifs. In summer the surface of the solonchaks is covered with a salt crust centimeters deep, having polygonal jointing, under which lies a marshy silt-sand mass. In the spring during the rainy season the area becomes impassable, turning into lakes of thin mud. There are large areas without vegetation (occasionally saltwort may be found). Between the depressions are narrow low ridges. The Dasht-e-Kavir desert is watered by streams originating largely on the southern slopes of the Elburz Mountains. There are oases in the plains surrounding the desert (Damghan, Sabzevar).