Lake Titicaca

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Lake Titicaca, part of the Still Water Eight
Lake Titicaca is a lake located on the border of Peru and Bolivia, and is part of the Still Water Eight . It sits 3,811 meters (12,500 feet) above sea level, making it the highest commercially navigable lake in the world. By volume of water, it is also the largest lake in South America at 110 miles long and 45 miles wide. The Incas named it Titicaca--"the mountain cat and the rock" in their Quechua language.

Lynne Cox was the first person to swim cross Lake Titicaca from Bolivia to Peru. She swam 10 miles from near the resort village of Copacabana in Bolivia to the native village of Chimbo in Peru, in 3 hours 48 minutes in the 56 to 58 degree F water.

Contents

Overview

The lake is located at the northern end of the endorheic Altiplano basin high in the Andes on the border of Peru and Bolivia. The western part of the lake lies within the Puno Region of Peru, and the eastern side is located in the Bolivian La Paz Department.

The lake is composed of two nearly separate sub-basins that are connected by the Strait of Tiquina, which is 800 m (2,620 ft) across at the narrowest point. The larger sub-basin, Lago Grande (also called Lago Chucuito) has a mean depth of 135 m (443 ft) and a maximum depth of 284 m (932 ft). The smaller sub-basin, Wiñaymarka (also called Lago Pequeño, "little lake") has a mean depth of 9 m (30 ft) and a maximum depth of 40 m (131 ft). The overall average depth of the lake is 107 m (351 ft).

Five major river systems feed into Lake Titicaca. In order of their relative flow volumes these are Ramis, Coata, Ilave, Huancané, and Suchez.[3] More than 20 other smaller streams empty into Titicaca, and the lake has 41 islands, some of which are densely populated.

Having only a single season of free circulation, the lake is monomictic, and water passes through Lago Huiñaimarca and flows out the single outlet at the Rio Desaguadero, which then flows south through Bolivia to Lake Poopó. This only accounts for about 10% of the lake's water balance. Evapotranspiration, caused by strong winds and intense sunlight at altitude, balances the remaining 90% of the water input. It is nearly a closed lake.

Since 2000, Lake Titicaca has experienced constantly receding water levels. Between April and November 2009 alone, the water level has sunk by 81 cm and has now reached the lowest level since 1949. This drop is caused by shortened raining seasons and the melting of glaciers feeding the tributaries of the lake.

Temperature

The cold sources and winds over the lake give it an average surface temperature of 10-14°C (50-57°F).

Name

The origin of the name Titicaca is unknown. It has been translated as "Rock Puma," as local communities have traditionally interpreted the shape of the lake to be that of a puma hunting a rabbit. "Titicaca" combines words from the local languages Quechua and Aymara. The word is also translated as "Crag of Lead." Locally, the lake goes by several names. Because the southeast quarter of the lake is separate from the main body (connected only by the Strait of Tiquina), the Bolivians call it Lago Huiñaymarca (Quechua: Wiñay Marka) and the larger part Lago Chucuito. In Peru, these smaller and larger parts are referred to as Lago Pequeño and Lago Grande, respectively.

Ecology

Lake Titicaca holds large populations of water birds. Several threatened species such as the huge Titicaca Water Frog and the flightless Titicaca Grebe are largely or entirely restricted to the lake, and the Titicaca Orestias has gone extinct due to competition and predation by various introduced species of trouts and silversides.

Still Water Eight

The Still Water Eight is a group of 8 marathon swims in lakes that is a goal of seriously-minded marathon swimmers who are focused on still-water marathon swims. Successful completion of these 8 marathon swims has never been recorded by a single individual. It was first publicly announced by Michelle Macy in October 2011.

Categories

Completion of the Still Water Eight can be recorded in three categories:

1. wetsuit
2. non-wetsuit (i.e., FINA approved swim suits)
3. channel-standard swimwear (i.e., traditional swimming briefs for men and no arm or leg coverage for women)

If the swimmer chooses to swim one of the Still Water Eight swims in a wetsuit, they would fall into the wetsuit category. Likewise if they swim in a FINA-approved swimsuit, they fall in that category. If they swim across all the lakes in channel-standard swimwear, then they fall into the channel-standard category.

Every swim attempt must start and finish on dry land.

8 Lakes

1. Loch Ness (Scotland): 23 miles/37K, water temperature averages 50°F/10°C in season. Known for its deep black and chilling waters.
2. Windemere (England): 10.5 miles/16.9K, water temperature can be as low as 55°F/13°C in season. The largest natural lake in England.
3. Lake Zürich (Switzerland): 16.4 miles/26.4K, water temperature 66.2–75.2°F/19-24°C. This lake has an annual international competition.
4. Lake Tahoe (USA): 21 miles/35.4K, water temperature is 50–58°F/10–14.4°F. Difficult due to cool water and air temperatures and high altitude.
5. Lake Baikal (Russia): 7-10 miles/11-16K or blaze a course of equal or greater distance,water temperature can be as low as 50°F/10°C. The world’s oldest and deepest lake is also a UNISECO World Heritage Site.
6. Lake Taupo (New Zealand): 21 miles/34K, water temperature 51–73°F/11–23°C. The largest lake in New Zealand is located on the North Island.
7. Lake Ontario (Canada): 31.5 miles/51K, water temperatures are variable in a matter of hours due to wind (50–72°F/10-22°C. Difficult swim due to unpredictable wind and currents.
8. Lake Titicaca (Bolivia–Peru): Temperature is 56-58°F/13-14.5°F and is highest lake in the Americas.

References

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