MASSIMO BREGA / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MASSIMO BREGA / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Drying of the Aral Sea. Aerial photograph of drilling towers over oil and gas wells on the dried up floor of the Aral Sea. This inland sea, once one of the largest in the world, is in Central Asia. This location is 80 kilometres north-west of the former port of Muynak, Uzbekistan. 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. The shoreline has receded by over 100 kilometres, leaving the inhabitants of former fishing ports to survive in a dry, arid landscape.
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