Definitions for aral seaˈær əl; ʌˈrɑl skə yə ˈmɔ ryə
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
Ar′al Sea′ˈær əl; ʌˈrɑl skə yə ˈmɔ ryə(n.)
Category: Geography (places)
Lake Aral, Aral Sea(noun)
a lake to the east of the Caspian Sea lying between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
A saline lake straddling the Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan border, that was once large, but that has shrunk to a quarter of its original size after the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers, which previously flowed into it, were diverted for irrigation purposes during the Soviet era.
Origin: From арал, referring to the more than 1,500 islands that once dotted its waters.
The Aral Sea was a lake lying between Kazakhstan in the north and Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan, in the south. The name roughly translates as "Sea of Islands", referring to about 1,534 islands that once dotted its waters; in Old Turkic aral means "island" and "thicket". However, the name 'Aral' derives from the Sanskrit word 'Arul' which means 'water'. Formerly one of the four largest lakes in the world with an area of 68,000 square kilometres, the Aral Sea has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects. By 2007, it had declined to 10% of its original size, splitting into four lakes – the North Aral Sea, the eastern and western basins of the once far larger South Aral Sea, and one smaller lake between the North and South Aral Seas. By 2009, the southeastern lake had disappeared and the southwestern lake had retreated to a thin strip at the extreme west of the former southern sea. The maximum depth of the North Aral Sea is 42 m.
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