Titicaca lake is located at coordinates 15º13 ' 19 " and 16º35 ' 37 " South latitude, and between 69º33 ' 36 " and 70º02 ' 13 " of west length.
Satelital image of Titicaca lake
The Titicaca is as a sedimentary basin between two mountain ranges. It is witness of the long and intense compression between the Pacific subduction zone and the old Brazilian continent.
The emergence of the Andes during the tertiary age (from 65 to 2 million years) encloses an important mass of water from the former ocean, rising it and forming a great basin known as Ballivián, on the north part, and Minchin on the south part. Due to evaporation phenomenons of Minchin lake, it almost disappeared completely, due to its little depth, leaving as vestige in Bolivia, lake Poopó and the Uyuni great salt desert.
The same evaporation phenomenon affected, in a minor way, the Ballivián basin, being much deeper and it will give birth to Lake Titikaka and the surrounding lagoons (Arapa and Umayo between others …).
Lake Titikaka, with an average of 8400 Km2 and average volume of 930 106 millions m3 of water, is the center of a basin of 56 300 Km2.
It is fed by several rivers : Ramis, Ilave, Coata, Huancane and Suches are the most important. The total amount of water from rivers and from the aquifers reaches an annual average of 202 m3/sec.,while the seasonal rains give an average of 245 m3/sec.
Desaguadero river constitutes the only fluvial drain lake Titikaka has, towards lake Poopó. It is an intermittent river, its average flow is 22 m3/sec. Nevertheless the most important water balance sheet losses of the lake comes from evaporation, that reaches 403 m3/sec.
Titicaca basin is ruled by a variable climate activity with irregular alternation from rainy years to drier ones. These irregularities affect the water levels of the highest navigable lake of the World.
Its average altitude(Resolution defined by Perus Navy 0536-2003/DCG August 27, 2003) is 3810,52 meters over the sea level.
It is good to remember that its methodical fluctuation water level registration started in 1912. its maximum level since then was of 3812,50 m.o.s.l. registered in April, 1986, and the lowest in April, 1943 was 3806,20 m.o.s.l.
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