Lake Titicaca and coast of Peru (left). Titicaca, the largest freshwater lake in
South America, is located in a depression in the Altiplano (high plains) between
the eastern and the western range of the Andes Mountains. Lake Titicaca covers
an area of 8300 km², is nearly 190 km long, and has an average width of 72 km.
Fed by many mountain streams that border the Altiplano, the lake is drained only
by the Desaguadero River, which flows south into Lake Poopó. Water levels can
vary as much as 5 meters from season to season and year to year. Much of the
lake water is lost through evaporation caused by intense sunshine and strong
winds. Since the late 1980s, drought has plagued this region of the Altiplano,
causing water levels in the lake to drop below normal. Drastic drops in water
level in the lake could eventually affect the moderating climate of this
high-altitude lake 3800 meters above sea level, which could lead to reduced
agricultural crop yields. The agricultural crops of wheat and maize help sustain
many Indians that live along Lake Titicaca’s shores (by NASA).
lighthouse of America. The Farol da Barra, built in 1668, in Salvador, the first
Brazilian capital and one of the oldest cities of the continent.