Lake Poopó sits high in the Bolivian Andes, catching runoff from its larger neighbor to the north—Lake Titicaca (not shown)—by way of the Desaguadero River, which is the muddy area at the north end of the lake. Because Lake Poopó is very high in elevation (roughly 3,400 meters, or 11,000 feet above sea level), very shallow (generally less than 3 meters, or 9 feet), and the regional climate is very dry, small changes in precipitation in the surrounding basin have large impacts on the water levels and area of Lake Poopó. When the lake fills during wet periods, it drains from the south end into the Salar de Coipasa salt flat (not shown). Water levels in Lake Poopó are important because the lake is one of South America’s largest salt-water lakes, making it a prime stop for migratory birds, including flamingoes.
Published Apr 24, 2006
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