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Reviving the Shriveled Lake UrmiaOnce the second-largest saltwater lake in the Middle East, Lake…

Reviving the Shriveled Lake UrmiaOnce the second-largest saltwater lake in the Middle East, Lake…

Reviving the Shriveled Lake Urmia

Once the second-largest saltwater lake in the Middle East, Lake Urmia attracted birds and bathers to bask in its turquoise waters in northwest Iran. Then beginning in the 1970s, nearly three decades of drought and high water demands on the lake shriveled the basin, shrinking it by 80 percent. Recent torrential rains have replenished the water levels of this aquatic gem once known as “the turquoise solitaire of Azerbaijan.”

The animation above shows Lake Urmia on April 9, 2018, and April 12, 2019. The images were acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on our Terra satellite. Officials report that the lake’s surface area reached roughly 3,000 square kilometers (1,200 square miles) in April 2019—expanding its volume nearly two-fold from a year ago.

Read more about Lake Urmia here.

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