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Field Study of Physical Processes in Lake Maracaibo

Author(s): David A. Horn; Bernard Laval; Jorg Imberger; Angelos N. Findikakis

Linked Author(s): Angelos N. Findikakis, Jörg Imberger

Keywords: Lake Maracaibo; Field study; Exchange flow; Lake hydrodynamics

Abstract: A major field program was carried out in Lake Maracaibo as part of a study for the environmental remediation of the system. The field program was designed to provide an understanding of the major physical processes that affect the water quality of Lake Maracaibo and to provide sufficient data for the calibration and validation of numerical models. Fieldwork was carried out during two separate field campaigns in 1998-99, timed to correspond with the wet and dry seasons of the region. Measurements included: current velocities; conductivity and temperature time-series at fixed depths; fine-and micro-scale conductivity and temperature profiles; wind speed and direction; and water level. The field data collected during the field program confirmed the following hydrodynamic features: (a) a predominantly semi-diurnal tide throughout Maracaibo Strait and Tablazo Bay with an anti-node in Tablazo Bay, (b) a tidally modulated saline underflow extending well into Maracaibo Strait, and (c) a dome-shaped, saline hypolimnion and a large-scale anti-clockwise circulation in Lake Maracaibo. The data also indicated a possible internal hydraulic control near Zapara Mouth. The field program did not observe any saline underflow south of the strait and into the lake.


Year: 2001

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