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Shrinking heart

13 February 2019

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This heart-shaped body of water may look cute for Valentine's Day but just as love sometimes fades, this emerald sea is withering away. Love dies for numerous reasons, it may have just run its natural course or there maybe something specific to blame.

The face of Earth changes continuously, and this too can be because of natural processes, but today changes – like the shrinking of the Aral Sea – can often be blamed on human activity. The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest lake in the world.

Before the 1950s, the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya rivers carried freshwater down from the mountains and created this temperate oasis in a mostly arid region of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. However, in the 1960s, Soviet irrigation projects diverted the rivers to grow water-intensive cotton in the desert, and as a result the Aral Sea shrank dramatically.

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