Lake Suesca

Lake Suesca
Laguna de suesca 02.JPG
View of the lake from the east
Lake Suesca is located in Colombia
Lake Suesca
Lake Suesca
LocationSuesca & Cucunubá,
Coordinates5°11′N 73°47′W / 5°11′N 73°47′W / 5.183; -73.783
Basin countriesColombia
Max. length6 kilometres (3.7 mi)[1]
Max. width2 kilometres (1.2 mi)[1]
Average depth8 metres (26 ft)[1]
Surface elevation2,800 m (9,200 ft)[2]
View of the lake from the east

Lake Suesca is a natural water body situated on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, belonging to the municipalities of Suesca and Cucunubá in the department of Cundinamarca, Colombia. The basin has a semi-elliptical shape that extends on a north–south axis, with roughly 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) length and 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) width.[1] The average depth is 8 metres (26 ft). It is located in the Eastern Ranges, on the anticlinal of Nemocón, in the northeast of the department, at an altitude of 2,800 metres (9,200 ft).[2]


Geology and soils

Geologically, the lake is of Pleistocene origin and is linked to the formation of the Eastern Ranges, which had a strong uprising activity during the Pliocene. Because of its location there is a wide distribution of sedimentary rocks, and the Guadalupe Group, Guaduas, Bogotá and Cacho formations are present in the area. The basin is crossed along its axis by the Suesca Fault, uplifting sandstone.[2][3][4]

The soils of the basin are classified as alfisols, where erosion areas are classified as "bad soils". Generally these correspond to cold and dry climates, with corrugated relief and highly evolved soils, where the presence of erosion is common, and most horizons have enrichment with clay. These soils were formed during the Pliocene and Quaternary, containing deposits of volcanic ash from the Cordillera Central, which weathered into clays, currently present in the lower strata.[4]

Vegetation and climate

The original vegetation was composed of encenillo and "corono" forests, accompanied by more xerophytic Andean communities, which correspond to the Low montane dry forest (bs-MB) according to the Holdridge life zones. The actual land cover is dominated by exotic species, mostly Acacia decurrens, with few remnants of native vegetation in the north and south of the basin.[3][4]

From a climatic point of view, the region has a bimodal rainfall regime, with an annual average of 647 mm, average temperatures of 14 °C, 70% relative humidity and evaporation of 1331 mm/year. The winds are a determinant factor for the vegetation and climate, as they are mainly influenced by Sabana de Bogotá, Magdalena River Valley and the Orinoco Plains, which converge in the area to generate specific characteristics from the point of view of moisture and the feasibility of rainfall.[3]

The region is under the jurisdiction of the Corporación Autonoma Regional de Cundinamarca (CAR) (environmental authority) and its central axis (north–south) serves as the boundary between the municipalities of Cucunubá and Suesca.

Muisca sacred lake

As with various other lakes on the Altiplano, Tota, Siecha, Guatavita and Iguaque, the Muisca who were the original inhabitants of the area before the Spanish conquest of the Muisca, performed religious rituals at Lake Suesca.[5]

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