31 July 2008

Among the dessicated ghosts of empire

The Aral Sea, on the border of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, was the fourth largest inland lake in the world in the early 1900s, but lost more than 75% of its size after the two rivers that fed it were diverted to irrigate cotton fields in Central Asia. Two smaller seas remain. The northern one in Kazakhstan, after international intervention, has shown growth in recent years while the southern sea continues to shrink.