MASSIMO BREGA / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MASSIMO BREGA / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Drying of the Aral Sea. Dam on the Amou Darya river, following the drying up of the Aral Sea. This inland sea, once one of the largest in the world, is in the Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In the 1930s the Soviet Union dug canals that diverted the sea's major rivers, including this one, 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, leaving the inhabitants of former fishing ports to survive in a dry, arid landscape. Here, power lines carry electricity generated by the dam's hydroelectric turbines.
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