The Aral Sea is a landlocked sea located between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It has been shrinking at a significant rate over the last couple of decades due to extensive irrigation from the Soviet Era, and also contains large amounts of pollution from weapons testing. Most of the area that made up the sea forty years ago is now desert.
At one time it took up 24,904 square miles and was the fourth largest lake in the world. It is commercially important for fishing.
- The New American Desk Encyclopedia, Penguin Group, 1989