LONDON — Prior to 1960, the Aral Sea in Central Asia had been one of the four largest lakes in the world.

Now, a series of NASA satellite images reveals how the once impressive body of water has been depleted to just 10% of its original size.

Using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on its Terra satellite to document the changes, NASA’s images show the dramatic consequences of the Soviet Union’s 1960 water diversion project to irrigate the arid earth in the nearby plains of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. You can watch the sea diminish from 2000 to 2016 in the GIF, below. Read more…

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Mesmerizing GIF shows the slow death of a sea