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13 of the most bizarre lakes in the world

By: Bryan Nelson on Sept. 13, 2010, 11:36 a.m.
Aral Sea

Photo: Martijn Munneke/Flickr

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Aral Sea

Once one of the four largest lakes in the world, today the Aral Sea is mostly an arid desert strewn with rusty old ghost ships, a reminder of the lake's former volume.

Since 1960, the lake has been steadily shrinking thanks primarily to irrigation projects started by the former Soviet Union, which diverted the rivers which fed it.

Today, the Aral Sea is only 10 percent of its former size. The region's fishing industry and ecosystem have been devastated, and the tragedy has been called "one of the planet's worst environmental disasters."