Lake Maracaibo is a gigantic lake in Venezuela. It is recognized as the only freshwater lake in the world that has a direct and natural connection with the sea. Here are some amazing facts about Lake Maracaibo.
Largest lake in Latin America
It is located in Zulia state of Venezuela and covers an area of 13,280 square kilometers and has a maximum depth of 30 meters. Its maximum length is 159 kilometers and, a maximum width of 108 kilometers. The lake also passes through the Venezulan states of Trujillo and Mérida.
First expedition by Spanish sailor
The first time the lake was known to the world was on August 24, 1999, when a Spanish expedition commanded by Captain Alonso de Ojeda discovered the lake. The lake reminded the Spanish of Venice, which is why the region was named as Venezuela, which means “little Venice”.
Previous names of the lake
The Spaniards called the lake San Bartolomé, in honor of the saint, whose name day is celebrated on every August 24, which was the day when Lake Maracaibo was discovered. The aboriginals used to call it Coquivacoa.
Rivers that flow into Lake Maracaibo
The many rivers that flow into the Lake Maracaibo are Escalante, Chama, Motatán, Limón and at least 14 other rivers.
The surrounding Maracaibo Basin contains huge reserves of oil
It is considered one of the richest oil areas in the world. Oil is being extracted from the Maracaibo Basin since 1914. Because of this oil reserve, Venezuela is one of the largest oil producer and exporter in the world. Oil is the major source of income in Venezuela, making Maracaibo Basin very important for the the country.
The Catatumbo Lightning
Catatumbo Lightning is a unique phenomenon that occurs in the southern side of the lake and in the lower basin of the Catatumbo river. The characteristic feature of the Catatumbo lighting is the appearance of a series of lighting striking continuously. This event has been recognized by as the highest concentration of lightening in the world by the Guinness World Record.
The lightning produced by this phenomenon is so famous that it was once used by the sailors to know what their location is. It is known as “Faro de Maracaibo”.
The Battle of Lake Maracaibo
Lake Maracaibo is also famous for the historic battle of Lake of Maracaibo that consolidated the independence of Venezuela from Spain.
The Rafael Urdaneta Bridge
The Rafael Urdaneta Bridge is one of the longest bridges in the world and measures 8.7 km.