Iran's Dead Sea Is Blood Red - and It's Disappearing

Lake Urmia, once the largest lake in the Middle East, shrunk to 10 percent of its size in recent years, causing it to morph from murky green to blood red. But that hasn't deterred locals from enjoying its stunning waters.

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This picture taken on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, shows an Iranian spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
An Iranian spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran, Aug. 26, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP
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Haaretz

The salty waters of Lake Urmia, originally an Assyrian name meaning "puddle of water," have been steadily shrinking for decades. As a result, the salinity of the water increases, causing a certain type of algae to multiply and give the water a reddish color. The lake, along with over 100 islands, is protected as a national park and attracts local visitors as well as those from neighboring Azerbaijan and Armenia.

This picture taken on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, shows Iranians spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
Iranians spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran, Aug. 25, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP
This picture taken on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, shows Iranians spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
Iranians spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran, Aug. 26, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP
This picture taken on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, shows Iranians spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
Iranians spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran, Aug. 26, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP
This picture taken on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, shows Iranians lying beside Urmia Lake with their bodies covered with mud near Urmia, northwestern Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
Iranians lying beside Urmia Lake with their bodies covered with mud near Urmia, northwestern Iran, Aug. 27, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP
This picture taken on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, shows an Iranian spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
An Iranian spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran, Aug. 25, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP
This picture taken on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, shows Iranians spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, northwestern Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
Iranians spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, northwestern Iran, Aug. 26, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP
This picture taken on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, shows two Iranians covering their bodies with mud near Urmia, North-western Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
Two Iranians covering their bodies with mud near Urmia, North-western Iran, Aug. 27, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP
This picture taken on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, shows an Iranian swimming in Urmia Lake near Urmia, northwestern Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
An Iranian swimming in Urmia Lake near Urmia, northwestern Iran, Aug. 26, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP
This picture taken on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, shows Iranians spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
Iranians spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran, Aug. 26, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP
This picture taken on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, shows Iranians spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
Iranians spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran, Aug. 25, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP
This picture taken on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, shows Iranians spend time beside Urmia Lake with their bodies covered with mud near Urmia, north-western Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
Iranians spend time beside Urmia Lake with their bodies covered with mud near Urmia, north-western Iran, Aug. 27, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP
This picture taken on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, shows Iranians lying beside Urmia Lake with their bodies covered with salt near Urmia, North-western Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
Iranians lying beside Urmia Lake with their bodies covered with salt near Urmia, North-western Iran, Aug. 26, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP
This picture taken on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, shows Iranians spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
Iranians spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran, Aug. 26, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP
This picture taken on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, shows an Iranian swimming in Urmia Lake near Urmia, northwestern Iran. Hopes for survival of Urmia salt lake have been revived after more rains boosted a government program aimed at preserving the almost dried up water body.
An Iranian swimming in Urmia Lake near Urmia, northwestern Iran, Aug. 26, 2016.Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP