Lake Junin

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Lake Junin
Lago de Junin-Juni Peru.jpg
Lake Junin is located in Peru
Lake Junin
Lake Junin
Coordinates11°01′S 76°07′W / 11.017°S 76.117°W / -11.017; -76.117Coordinates: 11°01′S 76°07′W / 11.017°S 76.117°W / -11.017; -76.117
Primary outflowsUpamayu-Mantaro River
Basin countriesPeru
Surface area529.88 km2 (204.59 sq mi)
Max. depth12 m (39 ft)[1]
Surface elevation4,082.7 m (13,395 ft)[1]

Lake Junin[2] (IPA: [xuˈnin]; Spanish Lago Junín, named after the nearby town of Junin)[3] or Chinchaycocha (possibly from Quechua chincha, chinchay north, northern, chinchay ocelot, qucha lake, lagoon,[4][5] "northern lake" or "ocelot lake") is the largest lake entirely within Peruvian territory. Even though Lake Titicaca has a much larger area, its eastern half is located on Bolivian territory. Lake Junin is an important birdwatching destination in the country.[6]


Lake Junin in a satellite image.

Most of the lake is located in the Junin Province of the Junin Region, its northwestern tip belongs to the Pasco Province which is in the Pasco Region. The surface elevation of the lake is located at 4,082.7 m (13,395 ft) above sea level.[1]

The lake is on the upper reaches of the Mantaro River within the Amazon River catchment. There is a hydroelectric power station which regulates the water level of the lake at the outflow of the lake, through the Upamayo Dam. In years of abundant rains, fluctuations in the water level are moderate, but in years of drought water level may drop 1.5–2 m (4.9–6.6 ft) leaving extensive areas exposed. The deepest part of the lake, which is located about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) off Huayre, is 12 m (39 ft) deep.[1]

The headwaters of streams flowing into Lake Junin have been named as the "most distant" source of the Amazon River, one of the three places proposed as the "true" source of the Amazon.[7]


Since 1933 there has been an inflow of mining residues into the lake, which has adversely affected the fish and bird fauna in parts of the lake. Sewage coming from the cities of Junín and Carhuamayo also pollutes the lake. These types of pollution are contributing to the natural eutrophication process of this wetland.

Fauna and flora[edit]

Lake Junin has two endemic birds: the critically endangered Junín flightless grebe (Podiceps taczanowskii) and the endangered Junín rail (Laterallus tuerosi).[8] The two endangered species of frogs in the genus Batrachophrynus are restricted to the vicinity of the lake, although only one of these, the entirely aquatic Lake Junín giant frog (B. macrostomus), is found in the lake itself.[9] Three Orestias pupfish, O. empyraeus, O. gymnota and O. polonorum, and the catfish Trichomycterus oroyae are endemic to the lake basin and its vicinity (including associated streams, rivers and smaller lakes).[1][10]

Lake Junin is surrounded by emergent vegetation, which in some places can reach 6 km (3.7 mi) wide and become so dense that it is impenetrable. The fish fauna is abundant but consists of few species, including introduced species. The introduced trout have been implicated in the decline of the endemic frogs.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Shoobridge, D. (February 2006). Protected Area Profile Perú - Junín National Reserve, ParksWatch Perú.
  2. ^ Peru 1:100 000, Ondores (23-k). IGN (Instituto Geográfico Nacional - Perú).
  3. ^ Gobierno Regional de Junín, Plan de Desarrollo Regional Concertado Junín 2004-2007
  4. ^ Teofilo Laime Ajacopa, Diccionario Bilingüe Iskay simipi yuyayk'ancha, La Paz, 2007 (Quechua-Spanish dictionary): chincha. s. Norte. Punto cardinal. qucha, qhucha, quchacha. - s. Laguna. Lago pequeño. qucha, qhucha. - s. Lago. Gran masa de agua en una depresión.
  5. ^ Diccionario Quechua - Español - Quechua, Academía Mayor de la Lengua Quechua, Gobierno Regional Cusco, Cusco 2005 (5-vowel-system): Chinchayqocha - s. Geog. (Topón. chincha, norte; qocha, lago: lago del norte.) Lago de considerables dimensiones en la meseta de Bombón en el departamento de Junín, Perú. chinchay - s. Zool. (Felis pardalis aequatorialis). Tigrillo. Orden carnívora, familia felidae. || v. Dirigir u orientar algo hacia el norte.
  6. ^ "Lago de Junin". Birdlife Data Zone. Birdlife International. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  7. ^ Contos, James and Tripcevich, Nicholas (2014), "Correct Placement of the most distant stream of the Amazon River in the Mantaro River Drainage," Wiley Online Library,, p. 38, [1], accessed 6 Oct 2018
  8. ^ Schulenberg, Stotz, Lane, O'Neill, and Parker III. (2007). Birds of Peru. ISBN 978-0-7136-8673-9
  9. ^ a b Stuart, Hoffmann, Chanson, Cox, Berridge, Ramani and Young, editors (2008). Threatened Amphibians of the World. ISBN 978-84-96553-41-5
  10. ^ Chocano Arévalo, L. (2005). "Las zonas altoandinas peruanas y su ictiofauna endémica". Revista Digital Universitaria. 6 (8): 1–13.

External links[edit]