This beautiful satellite image shows one of the most saddening long-term natural disasters on Earth. The black patch in the upper left corner is the remaining body of the Aral Sea, located on the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia—which has lost around 90 percent of its water volume since 1960…
NASA has published these two images of the Aral Sea, which used to be the fourth biggest lake in the world before the Soviet Union plugged into the rivers that fed it to irrigate massive agricultural areas. The photo on the right was taken in 2000. On the left you can see its current state.
Dry conditions have caused the Aral Sea's eastern lobe to completely dry up for the first time in modern history. It was once the fourth largest lake in the world, but owing to a disastrous irrigation project, it's all but gone.
Mo'ynoq was once a thriving port city on the Aral Sea in western Uzbekistan, famed for its fishing and canning industries. Today, most of Mo'ynoq's visitors come to view its haunting graveyard of ships, lying in the sands where the waters once flowed.
Humans can rearrange the shape of our planet almost as easily as the furniture in your living room (or the deck chairs on the Titanic). Of course, it doesn't always work out as planned.
This is the Aral Sea, which was once one of the four largest lakes in the world, until the Soviet Union diverted the rivers that fed it. Now full of stranded ships, it's just one of the world's dying lakes.