- Maracaibo, Lake
Inlet of the Caribbean Sea, northwestern Venezuela.The largest natural lake in South America, it occupies an area of 5,130 sq mi (13,280 sq km), extending southward for 130 mi (210 km) from the Gulf of Venezuela and reaching a width of 75 mi (121 km). Many rivers flow into the lake, notably the Catatumbo River. It is in one of the world's richest oil-producing regions, which supplies about two-thirds of Venezuela's total petroleum output. Its oil fields are located along the eastern shore, extending 20 mi (32 km) into the lake.
* * *Spanish Lago de Maracaibo,large inlet of the Caribbean Sea, lying in the Maracaibo Basin of northwestern Venezuela. It is the largest natural lake in South America, covering an area of about 5,150 square miles (13,300 square km), extending southward for 130 miles (210 km) from the Gulf of Venezuela, and reaching a width of 75 miles (121 km). Many rivers flow into Lake Maracaibo, the most important being the Catatumbo River, a transportation artery for products from the adjacent regions and from the Colombian-Venezuelan highlands. The lake water in the southern portion is fresh, but a stronger tidal influence makes the northern waters somewhat brackish. The lake is quite shallow, except toward the south, and it is surrounded by swampy lowlands. For many years a bar at the mouth of the lake, extending some 16 miles (26 km), restricted navigation to vessels drawing less than 13 feet (4 m) of water. After constant dredging in the 1930s had increased the depth to 25 feet (8 m), a 2-mile- (3-kilometre-) long stone breakwater and a 35-foot- (11-metre-) deep channel were completed in 1957 to accommodate oceangoing ships and tankers.Lake Maracaibo is one of the world's richest and most centrally located petroleum-producing regions. The first productive well was drilled in 1917, and the productive area has come to include a 65-mile (105-kilometre) strip along the eastern shore, extending 20 miles (32 km) out into the lake. Thousands of derricks protrude from the water, and many more line the shore, while underwater pipelines transport the petroleum to storage tanks on the land. The lake's basin supplies about two-thirds of the total Venezuelan petroleum output. Most of the industry was developed by foreign (chiefly American, British, and Dutch) investment, with very few locally owned wells, but in 1975 the petroleum industry was nationalized. Natural gas is also obtained.
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Look at other dictionaries:
Maracaibo, Lake — lake, NW Venezuela; ab. 5,000 sq. mi … Webster's Gazetteer
Maracaibo, Lake — geographical name S extension of Gulf of Venezuela in NW Venezuela area over 5000 square miles (12,950 square kilometers) … New Collegiate Dictionary
Maracaibo, Lake — … Useful english dictionary
Maracaibo Lake (Bolivia) — Maracaibo Lake Location Cercado Province, Beni Department Basin countries Bolivia Surface area 15.8 km² Surface elevation 177 m Maracaibo Lake is a lake in the Cercado Province, Be … Wikipedia
Lake Maracaibo — From outer space (STS 51 I). North is at the bottom left of the image (August 1985) … Wikipedia
lake — lake1 /layk/, n. 1. a body of fresh or salt water of considerable size, surrounded by land. 2. any similar body or pool of other liquid, as oil. 3. (go) jump in the lake, (used as an exclamation of dismissal or impatience.) [bef. 1000; ME lak(e) … Universalium
Lake — /layk/, n. Simon, 1866 1945, U.S. engineer and naval architect. * * * I Relatively large body of slow moving or standing water that occupies an inland basin. Lakes are most abundant in high northern latitudes and in mountain regions, particularly … Universalium
Lake tanker — Lake Tankers were small, (about 6,000 ton), specially designed ships that carried the crude oil, pumped from beneath Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, to the three off shore refineries located on the Dutch islands of Aruba and Curacao. The entire… … Wikipedia
Maracaibo Basin — The Maracaibo Basin in Western Venezuela is a prolific, oil producing sedimentary basin. The basin is bounded on the north by the Oca Fault which separates it from the Caribbean Sea. The remaining sides of the basin are bounded by a branching in… … Wikipedia
Maracaibo — [mar΄ə kī′bō; ] Sp [ mä΄rä kī′bō̂] 1. seaport in NW Venezuela: pop. 1,208,000 2. Lake lake in NW Venezuela, connected by channel with the Gulf of Venezuela: largest lake in South America: c. 5,000 sq mi (12,950 sq km) … English World dictionary