The Aral Sea, Formerly the World’s Fourth Largest Body of Water – June 6th, 201046.7N 61.6E
The Aral Sea once covered some 26,300 sq mi (68,000 sq km) and was the fourth largest inland body of water in the world. However, diversion of the waters of the Syr Darya and Amu Darya rivers for irrigation has led to an overall reduction of its surface area by more than half since 1960.
Its volume has also been reduced drastically, which has led to an increase in salinity. The soil of the dried-up lake bed has been found to contain salts and other toxic substances.