Etymology of the word Titicaca
The lake Titicaca extends on approximately 8 562 km ², among which 4 772 km ² correspond to the Peruvian territory and the remainder (3 790) in Bolivia.
Its coordinates are: .
It is in the center of a large basin having a surface about 58 000 km ², of which 10 983 in Bolivia. The surface of its catchment area thus belongs to more than 80% to the Peruvian territory. One subdivides his area catchment in 10 under-basins.
Itself breaks up into two parts, the Lake Maggiore and the minor lake, separated by the strait from Tiquina which has a length of 900 Mr.
Its length is of 204 km, its width of 65 km.
Located in the the Andes, between 3 809 and 3 811 meters above the sea level, it has an average depth of 107 meters and a maximum depth of 284 meters.
More than twenty-five rivers throw themselves in the lake. The lake counts forty and one islands from which some are inhabited.
The volume of water contained is of 893 km ³ (either 893 billion m ³). Its blue water is fresh water.
The overall length of its banks east of 1 125 kilometers.
GeologyThe lake is the vestige of a Lagune dating from the quaternary era which occupied the Altiplano
Affluents - contributionsNot less than 25 rivers contribute to feed the lake Titicaca.
Most of the contributions of surface waters in the catchment area of the lake comes from the Peru. The principal rivers which feed it are the río Ramis with 76 m ³ /s, the río Huancané with 20 m ³ /s, the río Coata (42 m ³ /s), and the río Ilave (39 m ³ /s). Among the secondary affluents it is necessary to quote the río Illpa, the río Yanarico and the río Zapatilla.
According to FAO, the whole of the contributions constitutes a water mass of more than 14 billion m ³ annually, that is to say approximately 450 cubic meters a second.
The lake Titicaca itself pours its surpluses in the Lac Uru Uru and the Lac Poopó via the río Desaguadero. But only 7% of the contributions are found in the flow of this last, the remainder being lost by evaporation.
Hydrous assessment of the lake Titicaca
The hydrous assessment of a lake such as Titicaca is the result of the extremely simple equation: entered quantities = quantities left , where the entries are distributed between the quantities brought by the whole of the affluents, plus the sum of the precipitations fallen on surface from the lake, and the exits are evaporated quantities the more the flow of the emissary. They are of course average quantities per unit of time.
The scientists of the two countries, after having collected these data between 1960 and 1990, managed from there to determine the quantities that here:
- Contribution of the tributary rivers: 201 m ³ /s
- Rains on the lake: 270 m ³ /s
- Evaporation: 436 m ³ /s
- Escapes and other losses: negligible
- Flow of the emissary (the río Desaguadero): 35 m ³ /s
Calculation of evaporation
Knowing the quantities evaporated a second (436 m ³), the surface of the lake (8 400 km ²) and the number of seconds per 365 days year (31 536 000), it is seen that in one year it evaporated on the whole for all the lake not less 13 749 696 000 cubic meters, either 1,636 cubic meter per square meter of surface, or still a height of water of 1.636 Misters What is considerable for a cold climate, and is due to the dryness of the air and the dry winds which blow on the zone.
The most populated islands are the Isla del Sol in Bolivia with 5 000 inhabitants, Amantani with more 4 000 inhabitants and Taquile with 757 families (approximately 3 500 inhabitants), these two last being Peruvian side. The bordering populations are Quechua S and Aymara wagadou.
The Indians Urosthe lake Titicaca is the legendary cradle of Wire of the Sun.
The lake Titicaca is for the Indians of the Andes the cradle of the first INCA which would have emerged from its water. “The island of the Sun” is a crowned place, as at the time of the empire.
An indigenous local legend claims that the first inhabitants of the area had six fingers and were called the Uros .
Nowadays, one calls Uros those which live on floating islands. Those are manufactured starting from floating reeds and became an “obligatory” stage tourist almost, which makes it possible to the inhabitants to partly live of this tourism.
Actually, the last true Indian Uros died in 1959 and the occupants of the islands are since of Aymaras.
The legend of the Gods of the mountainA legend tells that the men lived happy in a fertile valley. Nothing was to them safe interdict to go up in the mountain. The devil says to them to go in the mountain to seek crowned fire, if not a misfortune would fall down on them. But the gods of the mountain called “Apus” surprised them and made leave the caves of the Puma S, which killed all the population. Inti ", the god of the sun which they venerated, cried during 40 days and 40 nights without stopping, which flooded the valley and created the lake Titicaca; only a couple survived while being put in a boat. They said that, of their boat, they had seen the pumas, which had transformed themselves into stone. Therefore the lake is called “ el lago los pumas of will piedra ”, the lake with the stone pumas.
These stone pumas are represented today in the Aymara symbolic system by the figurehead of the boats (the balsa ), a braided head of puma.
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