The Pánuco River (Spanish: Río Pánuco) ( 'panuko (help·info)) is a river in Mexico fed by its tributary the Moctezuma River and emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. Since one of the headwaters of the Moctezuma River is the Tula River, the Pánuco ultimately drains the Valley of Mexico containing Mexico City.
At its source, it serves as a channel for water-drainage for Mexico City. From there, it becomes the state border between Hidalgo and Querétaro as it moves toward San Luis Potosí. It takes the name Río Pánuco upon reaching the state of Veracruz. It empties into the Gulf at Tampico and Ciudad Madero, on the border between the states of Tamaulipas and Veracruz.
It is approximately 500 km in length but only the last 15 km is navigable for larger ships.
According to the Atlas of Mexico, the Panuco River is the fourth-largest river in Mexico by volume of runoff, and the sixth-largest river basin in Mexico by area.
- "River Basins", Atlas of Mexico, 1975, has topographical map
- "Panuco", Freshwater Ecoregions of the World
- Diaz, B., 1963, The Conquest of New Spain, London: Penguin Books, ISBN 0140441239
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