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Aral Sea

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Aral Sea is a salt lake located between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in central Asia. The name means ‘Sea of Islands’. Once it was the fourth largest lake in the world but now has shrunk by 70%, mainly due to irrigation. Until the 1970s, it was full of water and had various species of fish. The lake has been in existence for approximately 5.5 million years.

Its major river tributaries are the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya.It has an internal drainage system as it cannot drain its waters into any sea or river. This is the reason why it is an endorheic basin. It is comparatively shallow reaching a depth of just 58 meters.


Quick Facts: –

  • This salt lake split into a large southern Uzbek part and a smaller Kazakh portion in 1990.
  • The Aral Sea region is one of the poorest in the oil producing states.
  • Almost 90% of this lake has gone now because the rivers that fed the lake were used for irrigation by Soviet Union.
  • There are many other reasons for the Aral Sea’s destruction including global warming and irrigation.
  • Its drainage area includes parts of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
  • Millions of years ago, a massive inland sea existed. Aral Sea, Caspian Sea and the Black Sea all were part of this inland sea.
  • Earlier, it had a salinity level of 10 grams per liter and now it has 100 grams per liter.
  • Salinity of the rivers varies with place and time, as well as through the different seasons.
  • Scientists and other experts do not believe that this salt lake will ever be restored to its original size.



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