Lake Maracaibo

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Maracaibo, Lake,

largest lake of South America, c.5,100 sq mi (13,210 sq km), NW Venezuela, extending c.110 mi (180 km) inland. A strait, 34 mi (55 km) long, connects it with the Gulf of Venezuela. Discovered in 1499 by the Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda, the lake lies in the extremely hot, humid lowlands of the Maracaibo basin, a region that, almost enclosed by mountains, is semiarid in the north but has an average annual rainfall of 50 in. (127 cm) in the south. The basin is one of the major oil-producing areas of the world, and was developed beginning in 1918. Although petroleum production is the most significant economic activity locally, sugarcane, cacao, and livestock are raised. In addition, fish are caught in the lake, despite pollution from agricultural runoff and oil spills. Lake Maracaibo, with the Catatumbo River, its chief tributary, is a major artery of communication for products of the adjacent region and those of the Colombian-Venezuelan highlands. A dredged channel gives oceangoing vessels access to the lake. Cabimas and the port of Maracaibo are the principal cities on the lake. Gen. Rafael Urdaneta Bridge (c.5 mi/8 km long; completed 1962), spanning the lake's outlet, is one of the longest bridges in the world.
References in periodicals archive ?
Construction of Second Bridge over Maracaibo Lake, located in Zulia State, known as the Nigale Bridge.
October 2012 - Odebrecht Venezuela began the construction work for the Second Bridge over Maracaibo Lake, located in Zulia State, known as the Nigale Bridge.
Built in Merida state, the plant will supply Venezuela's Andean region and areas south of Maracaibo lake.
Many workers on the eastern shores of the lake have protested or gone on hunger strikes to demand jobs promised them after President Hugo Chavez's government expropriated 76 oil services companies on the Maracaibo Lake.
It was then said that, once all the projects had been combined, one single company was to comprise all the JVs which handled wells located in the Maracaibo lake.
Juan Vicente Gomez, three-time military dictator of Venezuela from 1908 until his death in 1935, used newly discovered oil reserves under Maracaibo Lake to finance a grand public works program, receiving generous kickbacks in the process.
Venezuela does not capture or commercialize any of its gas reserves and has never done so, due to the costs involved when gas is mixed with oil and located underwater, as is the case in Maracaibo Lake.
Freddy Rodriguez, president of the Maracaibo Lake Basin Conservation Institute, says that the greatest concentration of the weed lies in the northern part of the lake, near the Strait of Maracaibo, while the southern and central areas, where boat traffic is heavier, are clear.
Venezuelan transport and port infrastructure Most Venezuelan coal exports are shipped from three main terminals located in the west shore of Maracaibo Lake, which are described in this chapter.
The InterContinental Maracaibo will sit facing the beautiful Maracaibo Lake overlooking the Maracaibo Bridge.