Salt Flats in Remains of Aral Sea
The remains of the Aral Sea, once one of the four largest lakes in the world with an area of 68,000 square kilometres (26,300 sq mi), appear mainly as a large salt pan flanked by small bodies of water in the basins to the west and north. By 2007, the lake had declined to 10% of its original size, splitting into four lakes. By 2009, the southeastern lake had disappeared and the southwestern lake retreated to a thin strip at the extreme west of the former southern sea. The maximum depth of the North Aral Sea is a mere 42 m (138 ft) (as of 2008).