Lake Valencia (Venezuela)

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This article is about lake in Venezuela. For lake in Peru, see Lake Valencia (Peru).
Lake Valencia
Lago de Valencia
Lake Valencia, Venezuela.jpg
Coordinates 10°11′N 67°44′W / 10.183°N 67.733°W / 10.183; -67.733Coordinates: 10°11′N 67°44′W / 10.183°N 67.733°W / 10.183; -67.733
Type endorheic
Catchment area 2,646 km²
Basin countries Venezuela
Surface area 350 km²
Average depth 18 m
Max. depth 39 m
Surface elevation 410 m

Lake Valencia (Spanish: Lago de Valencia) is a lake within Carabobo State and Aragua State, in northern Venezuela.

Geography[edit]

It is the third largest lake in Venezuela, after Lake Maracaibo and Lake Guri reservoir.

Lake Valencia is located in one of the "Aragua valleys," between the parallel sub-mountain ranges in the Cordillera de la Costa Central, of the Venezuelan Coastal Ranges system.

The endorheic lake has natural discharge level at 427 m above sea level; the water level declined below this height about 250 years ago. Its surface level currently is 410 m above sea level, and is about 30 km long, has an area of 350 km². The maximum depth is 39 m, the mean depth 18 m. The lake has a number of small islands, with some inhabited.

Its drainage basin (watershed area) of 2,646 km². The most important river emptying into the lake is the Aragua River. Others include the El Limón River, Guacara River, Güigüe River, Mariara River and Turmero River, which flow through or near their respective cities, El Limón, Guacara, Güigüe, Mariara and Turmero.

History[edit]

The lake was formed approximately 2-3 million years ago due to faulting and subsequent damming of the Valencia River. The lake has been completely dry during several discrete periods of its geologic history.

Since 1976 Lake Valencia water levels have risen due to diversion of water from neighboring watersheds—it currently acts as a reservoir for the surrounding urban centers (such as Maracay and Valencia).

Ecology[edit]

The lake suffers from algal blooms caused by continual influx of untreated wastewater from the surrounding urban, agricultural, and industrial land uses. This contributes to ongoing eutrophication, contamination, and salinization of the lake.

Despite its picturesque location between the Cordillera de la Costa to the north and the Serrania del Interior to the south, Lake Valencia's poor water quality limits opportunities for tourism and recreational activities. Due to pollution and other human induced changes, almost 60% of the native fish species in the lake were lost between 1960 and 1990.[1] Among the fish in the lake is the diamond tetra, which is commonly kept in aquaria, while two species of catfish, Lithogenes valencia and Pimelodella tapatapae are entirely endemic to the lake basin.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ López-Rojas, H., and A. L. Bonilla-Rivero (2000) Anthropogenically induced fish diversity reduction in Lake Valencia Basin, Venezuela. Biodiversity & Conservation 9(6): 757-765
  2. ^ Hales, J., and P. Petry (2013). Orinoco High Andes. Freshwater Ecoregions of the World. Retrieved 5 March 2013

External links[edit]