Lake Maracaibo is a large brackish lake and an inlet of the Caribbean Sea situated in the Maracaibo container in the northwestern component of Venezuela. That covers an area of 13,210 km2 and also is considered one of the largest organic lakes in the continent of southern America. Lake Maracaibo is attached with the Gulf of Venezuela by the 5.5 km-wide Tablazo Strait.

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Lake Maracaibo Geological studies have approximated that Lake Maracaibo is one of the earliest water bodies on the planet, formed in between 20 and also 35 million year ago. This brackish water body has actually a size of 159 km and a maximum width of about 108 km. Lake Maracaibo is reasonably shallow and also reaches a best depth the 60 m. Plenty of rivers flow into the lake, amongst which the Catatumbo river is the most significant. The Tablazo Strait is extended by the 8.7 km-long basic En Jefe Rafael Urdaneta Bridge.

The southern component of the lake has freshwater when its northern part contains brackish water. The typical surface water temperature the the lake ranges between 28 and also 31 °C throughout the year. Located at the mouth of the Catatumbo flow in the southern part of Lake Maracaibo is the world’s famous lightning hotspot. Here, nocturnal thunderstorms occur at an average of 232.52 lightning flashes per km2 per year. This atmospheric phenomenon is colloquially known as “Relámpago del Catatumbo.”

Brief History

Oil shipment in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela. 

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The native Guajiros to be the earliest people to settle roughly the lake areas. The Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda and the Italian traveler Amerigo Vespucci to be the first Europeans to find the only on august 24, 1499. That is believed that when Ojeda’s expedition gotten in the lake, they uncovered several indigenous huts that were developed on stilts (Palafitos) end the water. That is claimed that these stilt homes reminded Vespucci of the Italian city of Venice (Venezia). Therefore, he named the area “Venezuela” i beg your pardon in Spanish expected “the little Venice.” The port city that Maracaibo was created on the western part of the lake in 1529. During the Venezuelan battle of Independence, the bay served as the ar for the famous battle of Lake Maracaibo in 1823.

The Maracaibo basin has hefty deposits of rudely oil and therefore Lake Maracaibo is among the world’s wealthiest oil-producing regions. The first far-ranging oil well to be drilled in 1917, and also currently, the most abundant area the the lake is a 105 kilometres long piece that is located along the eastern shores that the lake and extends around 32 km into it. Plenty of derricks protrude the end of the lake along with several others that are situated along the shores that the lake. Countless pipelines operation underwater and assist to deliver the rudely oil to storage tanks. That is estimated that about two-thirds that the full petroleum produced in Venezuela is provided by the lake’s basin. The Venezuelan crude oil is climate shipped with the harbor of Maracaibo to various oil-requiring nations. Lake Maracaibo also serves as a major fishing ground the supports more than 20,000 fishers.

Environmental Problems

Lake Maracaibo has actually a duckeed infestation. Lake Maracaibo suffers indigenous a duckweed infestation and also it has actually been report that as of 2004, more than 18% of the lake has been covered with duckweed. The government of Venezuela safety $2 million every month to clean up the lake and also the Petroleos de Venezuela Oil company has additionally created a money of over $750 million because that cleaning the lake. Duckweed can double its dimension in 48 hours and the only means to manage it is to physically remove it native the lake, together no treatments have actually been discovered to it is in effective versus the weed. The is not toxic to fish however experts are came to that its pervasiveness in the water have the right to lead come a lack of oxygen in the lake, which would suffocate naval life.