Aral Sea – the giant lake between Kazakhstan in the north and Uzbekistan in the south – has dried up completely, says NASA. In the early 1900s, the Aral Sea was the fourth largest lake in the world. Also Read - Inspiring! Meerut Woman Who Left Home To Avoid Forced Marriage Returns As PCS Officer 7 Years Later

Today, the vast lake – formed 5.5 million years ago in Central Asia – in the middle of the Kyzylkum desert has shrunk to a level where water is no more visible to the eyes, revealed a series of images from Nasa’s Terra satellite. Also Read - Before Reporting For Duty, This Bengaluru Cop Teaches Children of Migrant Workers Everyday For An Hour

A massive water diversion project begun by the Soviet Union in the 1960s caused it to shrink dramatically. Also Read - Ready to Send Children Back to School? 78% Parents Say No, Willing to Let Kids Repeat An Academic Year

“It is likely the first time it has completely dried in 600 years since the diversion of the region’s major river Amu Darya to the Caspian Sea,” Philip Micklin from the Western Michigan University was quoted as saying in media reports.

According to NASA, this is happening because of low snowpack in the mountains that feed the lake.

Experts predict the giant lake will disappear completely by 2020.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, more than 60 million people live in the Aral region – up fourfold since 1960.

Image courtesy: Wikipedia