A group of American and Russian scientists in the course of research determined the age of one of the world’s most mentioned lakes, which is more commonly known as the Aral Sea. It is reported by National Geographic Russia.
It turns out that the Aral Sea, for the survival of which Central Asia and the entire world community are now fighting, arose 17.6 thousand years ago. To determine the age of the Aral Sea, scientists of the Russian Federation and the United States drilled several wells in the former basin, gained access to the entire thickness of lake sediments and studied the composition of sediments and the microfauna.
“Scientists for the first time reliably established that the modern Aral Sea (in sizes up to the 1970s, when the reservoir area began to decrease) appeared about 17.6 thousand years ago,” the message says.
The main part of the research was carried out by the Sobolev Institute of Geology and Mineralogy of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the University of Arizona (Tucson, Arizona). The final conclusion was made on the basis of a series of radiocarbon dates on the shells of mollusks and ostracods (crustaceans).
Scientists also note that the process itself of the emergence of the Aral Sea began earlier, about 18-23 thousand years ago, when the glaciers of the Pamirs and Tien Shan began to melt. The water went down along the beds of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers and began to gradually fill the basin, in which as a result the Aral Sea appeared.
Despite the emergency situation, the Aral Sea is alive, and the Aral Sea countries expect to revive it, despite the fact that the salvation of the Aral Sea will be difficult, expensive and not quick. We cannot allow a whole sea to be lost in the Central Asian region during the life of a single generation. Therefore, the salvation of the Aral is a matter of honor for all the countries of Central Asia.
In the first half of the 20th century, the Aral was the fourth largest lake in the world and occupied an area of about 68 thousand kilometers. Since the 1960s, due to the unsustainable use of water resources, it began to rapidly grow shallow, and its area shrank, which affected the climate of the region. In 1993, the heads of state located in the lake basin created the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea. This ecological crisis is recognized by the world community as one of the largest catastrophes of the 20th century.
In 1989, the sea broke up into two isolated reservoirs – the Northern (Small) and Southern (Large). In 2014, the eastern part of the Big Aral completely dried up, but in subsequent years it was again filled with water, although its level and mirror area significantly reduced from spring to summer. The highest values and areas of the eastern Great Aral Sea were noted in the summer of 2017. Presumably, the water began to come not only from the Syr Darya, but also from the Amu Darya. There are also reports that an oasis has appeared in the sea zone, where some species of birds stop during long flights.
In order to reverse the situation and consolidate the first signs of the revival of the sea, Turkmenistan, who chaired the Fund for the period 2017-2019, put forward the initiative to develop the UN Special Program for the Aral Sea and to isolate the Aral problem as an independent UN activity. So, the struggle to save the Aral Sea is still ahead.