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Lake Cuitzeo in Cuitzeo Basin, Mexico

19.9N 100.9W

December 15th, 2010 Category: Lakes

Mexico - December 14th, 2010

This APM image shows Lake Cuitzeo, a lake in central part of Mexico, in the state of Michoacán. It has an area of 300-400 km², although the lake is astatic and its volume and level of water fluctuate frequently. It is the second largest freshwater lake in Mexico.

Lake Cuitzeo lies in an endorheic basin, which does not drain to the sea. The basin has an area of 4026 square kilometers, lying mostly in Michoacán, with the northern part of the basin in Guanajuato state. Michoacán’s capital, Morelia, lies in the Cuitzeo basin south of the lake.

The basin of the Lerma River lies to the east and north, and the basin of the Balsas River lies to the south, separated by the mountains of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. The endorheic basin of Lake Pátzcuaro lies to the west.

The lake is irregular in shape, with northern, western, and eastern sections connected by a central marshy area, which receives the main freshwater inflows. It has no natural outflow, but an outflow canal was constructed to the north, allowing the lake to drain into the Lerma River basin when the water level is high.

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