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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Veneziola") "region the named he so Venice, of Vespucci Amerigo navigator century 15th the reminded Maracaibo Lake at houses stilt (Venezuela 7.
Catatumbo is a river that ends southwest of Maracaibo Lake, and nowadays tourists can take nighttime boat tours to observe these beautiful storms.
Built in Merida state, the plant will supply Venezuela's Andean region and areas south of Maracaibo lake. The project will be competed in 2014 with a combined-cycle unit that will increase the capacity by 170 MW.
Geochemical evaluation of crude oil in the Franquera Oil Field and nearby oil reservoirs in the southeastern region of the Maracaibo Lake basin
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. The western region has a long history of oil production.
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. Two more would handle those west of the lake and another would run projects on the eastern side.
The past and present of the American continent have been characterized by a succession of colonialisms; first that caused by the gold search in the mountain ranges by the conquerors arriving from the European empires, and afterwards that caused by black oil, first found in the North American plains and thereafter in the Maracaibo Lake, the Gulf of Mexico, etc.
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.
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.