The Aral Sea – lying between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in in Central Asia – was once the fourth-largest lake in the world. Fed primarily by snowmelt and precipitation flowing down from faraway mountains, it was a temperate oasis in an arid region.
But in the 1960s, the Soviet Union diverted two major rivers to irrigate farmland, cutting off the inland sea from its source. The Aral Sea has been slowly disappearing ever since. These images show how the Aral Sea and its surrounding landscape has changed over the past few decades.
Bottom line: Video shows how the Aral Sea has been shrinking over the past few decades.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.