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The Aral Sea was a major lake of the USSR until it suffered artificial changes, which began sometime no later than the 1960s.

I am unfortunately not sure when major artificial changes began. Wikipedia says that canal construction "on a large scale" began in the 40's, but then mentioned "By 1960, between 20 and 60" cubic km of water was being diverted. So it appears the date I'm looking for is somewhere between 1940 and 1960.

Anyway, the two key figures I'm interested in are average depth and salinity. What were these in the Aral Sea before it changed? One reason I ask is I'm especially curious if it was just a smaller version of the Caspian.

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    $\begingroup$ You could calculate from the area and volume in Table 1 here. $\endgroup$ – Keith McClary Dec 8 '18 at 2:56
  • $\begingroup$ @KeithMcClary Thanks, included that info in my answer. $\endgroup$ – DrZ214 Dec 21 '18 at 22:20
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From the link provided by Keith McClary, the Aral had a salinity of about 1% and a max depth of 69 m. (Could not find average depth in the article.)

The Caspian Sea, on the other hand, has a salinity of about 1.2%, max depth of 1,025 m, and average depth of 211 m. I think this is enough information to say that the Aral was not just a smaller version of the Caspian, unless your main criteria is salinity.

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