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A Study of Environmental Remediation Options for Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela

Author(s): Angelos N. Findikakis; J. Rg Imberger; Ian Sehested Hansen; Luis A. Delgado; Reinaldo Garcia-Martinez; Erich Gundlach

Linked Author(s): Reinaldo García-Martínez, Angelos N. Findikakis

Keywords: Lake Maracaibo; Stratification; Eutrophication; Anoxic hypolimnion; Remediation

Abstract: A study was conducted to evaluate different environmental remediation options for Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. Lake Maracaibo is the largest lake in South America, and communicates with the ocean through the Strait of Maracaibo and Tablazo Bay. Under favorable tidal, river flow and other conditions, salt water flow from the ocean intrudes into the Lake contributing to elevated salinity levels, varying between 3 and 5 psu at the surface, and up to 11 psu at the bottom. High nutrient loads from the rivers discharging in the Lake are the major source of the eutrophication of the Lake. The combination of high organic matter concentrations and density stratification lead to anoxic conditions in the hypolimnion. The objectives of the study included a compilation of the existing knowledge about the source of the major environmental problems of the Lake, collection of additional environmental data, and develop analytical modeling tools that would allow the evaluation of alternative remediation strategies.


Year: 2001

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