Lake Maracaibo is the largest natural lake in South America. It covers a total area of about 5,130 square miles. The maximum length is 159 kilometers and, a maximum width of 108 kilometers. It is also one of the oldest bodies of water on the entire planet. This lake is believed to have formed about 35 million years ago.
It is located in the Maracaibo Basin of north-western Venezuela. The basin area of this lake includes the largest oil fields in Venezuela. It supplies about two-thirds of the total Venezuelan petroleum output.
Quick Facts: –
- Lake Maracaibo was discovered by Captain Alonso de Ojeda (a Spanish Navigator) on August 24, 1499 for the first time.
- The water is fresh at the southern end of the lake but becomes brackish toward the north.
- Many rivers flow into this lake. The Catatumbo River is the most important of all of them.
- This lake has a total volume of about 280 cube kilometers and the maximum depth is 60 meters.
- It is connected to the Gulf of Venezuela and the Caribbean Sea on its northern edge by a 34 mile long strait.
- It is the only freshwater lake that has a direct connection to the sea.
- Venezuela is one of the largest petroleum oil producer and exporter in the world.
- There is a bridge named Rafael Urdaneta Bridge on the lake. It is the largest concrete bridge in the world.
- This lake occupies the bottom of the extremely hot and humid Maracaibo Lowlands.