Lake Titicaca serves as the name of a rather large lake located in the Andes mountains. The lake also lies on the borders of Peru and Bolivia.
In regards to volume, it forms the largest lake in South America, and comprises two sub-basins, joined by a strait. One basin has a maximum depth of 932 ft (284 m). The other basin has a deepest measured depth of only 131 ft (40 m).
Five major rivers flow into Lake Titicaca, along with twenty smaller streams. The lake also serves as home to 41 islands, and some of these remain densely populated.
The water of the lake averages only 50 F (10 C), due to its sources, and high winds.
Lake Titicaca Geology
Lake Titicaca lies within the Tinajani Basin and forms part of a large intermontane basin. This basin originally formed between 27-20 million years ago.
Lake Titicaca has a maximum length of roughly 118 mi (190 km), and the maximum width measures 50 mi (80 km). The total surface area is around 3,232 sq. mi (8.372 sq km). The surface of this geological marvel also sits at an altitude of 12, 507 ft (3,812 m).
Since 2000, the levels of the lake have been steadily receding. Receding glaciers and shortened rainy seasons appear to be the leading culprits in this trend.
Lake Titicaca Climate and Ecology
Lake Titicaca possesses a rather strong alpine climate. The temperature stays cool to cold throughout the year. The average rainfall totals about 24 in (610 mm).
The lake itself remains home to more than 530 aquatic species. Large numbers of waterbirds also call the lake home. Lake Titicaca was designated a Ramsar Site in 1998. There are several animal species present that exist nowhere else on earth.
Numerous endemic species of fish also live in the lake. There are also several unidentified species of bivalves present in the lake. These are currently being studied as potentially previously unknown species.