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Lake Petén Itzá (Lago Petén Itzá, Spanish pronunciation: [ˈlaɣo peˈten iˈtsa]) is a lake in the northern Petén Department in Guatemala. It is the second largest lake in Guatemala, after the Izabal Lake. It is located around 16°59′0″N 89°48′0″W / 16.98333°N 89.80000°W / 16.98333; -89.80000. It has an area of 99 km² some 32 km. long and 5 km wide. Its maximum depth is 160 m. The lake area presents high levels of migration, due to the existence of natural resources such as wood, chewing gum, oil, and agricultural and pasture activities. Because of its archaeological richness, around 150,000 tourists pass through this region yearly. The city of Flores, the capital of El Petén, lies on an island near its southern shore.

Lake Petén Itzá
Peten Itza lake.jpg
Lake view from the Northeastern shore
Lake Petén Itzá is located in Guatemala
Lake Petén Itzá
Lake Petén Itzá
Coordinates 16°59′0″N 89°48′0″W / 16.98333°N 89.80000°W / 16.98333; -89.80000Coordinates: 16°59′0″N 89°48′0″W / 16.98333°N 89.80000°W / 16.98333; -89.80000
Primary inflows Rio Ixlú, Rio Ixpó
Primary outflows (subterranean)
Basin countries Guatemala
Surface area 99 km2 (38 sq mi)[1]
Max. depth 160 m (520 ft)
Surface elevation 110 m (360 ft)
Sections/sub-basins Main north basin, shallow south basin
References [1]

Several streams flow into Lake Petén Itzá, but it has no surface outflow.[2] Although it loses water mostly by evaporation, it is not a salt lake.

Contents

Notable sitesEdit

There are at least 27 Maya sites around this lake and the archaeological remains of Tayasal, located across the lake on a peninsula close to the former Itza Maya capital, the last to be conquered in Mesoamerica in 1697.

 
Lake Petén Itzá seen from space

FaunaEdit

This lake has more than 100 important indigenous species such as the giant cichlid (Petenia splendida), crocodiles (Crocodylus moreletii and Crocodylus acutus), jaguars (Panthera onca), Pumas (Puma concolor), White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), red brocket (Mazana americana), and several bird species, including parrots, toucans, and macaws. On its northeast shore is the Cerro Cahui Protected Biotope, a natural reserve for butterflies is a 1,600-acre (6.5 km2) reserve is home to toucans, spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi), howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata, Alouatta pigra), and many other rain forest species.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b INSIVUMEH. "Indice de lagos". Retrieved 13 July 2008. 
  2. ^ Biogeography of the West Indies: Patterns and Perspectives (second ed.). p. 37. 

ReferencesEdit