Drying of the Aral Sea, rusting ship

Drying of the Aral Sea, rusting ship

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Credit: MASSIMO BREGA/EURELIOS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Drying of the Aral Sea. Rusting ship lying on the sandy desert left behind by the drying up of the Aral Sea. This ship was from the former Aral Sea port of Muynak, Uzbekistan. The Aral Sea, in Central Asia, was once one of the world's largest inland seas, with a thriving fishing industry. In the 1930s the Soviet Union dug canals that diverted the sea's major rivers to irrigate cotton fields. From the 1960s, the sea started to shrink, and by 2004 some 75 percent of the sea's area had been lost. Ships lie beached on the dry seabed, and the people in the area struggle to survive by farming livestock in a salt-contaminated desert landscape.

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