Panama Canal - Gatun Lake

Gatun Lake

Created in 1913 by the damming of the Chagres River, Gatun Lake is an essential part of the Panama Canal which forms a water passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, permitting ship transit in both directions. At the time it was formed, Gatun Lake was the largest man-made lake in the world. The impassable rainforest around the lake has been the best defense of the Panama Canal. Today these areas remain practically unscathed by human interference and are one of the few accessible areas on earth where various native Central American animal and plant species can be observed undisturbed in their natural habitat. World famous Barro Colorado Island, which was established for scientific study when the lake was formed and is today operated by the Smithsonian Institution, is the largest island on Gatun Lake. Many of the most important groundbreaking scientific and biological discoveries of the tropical animal and plant kingdom originated here. Gatun Lake covers approximately 180 square miles (470 km2), a vast tropical ecological zone part of the Atlantic Forest Corridor. Ecotourism on the lake has become a worthwhile industry for Panamanians.

Gatun Lake also serves to provide the millions of gallons of water necessary to operate the Panama Canal locks each time a ship passes through, and provides drinking water for Panama City and Colón. Fishing is one of the primary recreational pursuits on Gatun Lake. Non-native Peacock Bass were introduced by accident to Gatun Lake around 1967 by a local businessman, and have since flourished to become the dominant angling game fish in Gatun Lake. Locally called Sargento and believed to be the species Cichla pleiozona, these peacock bass are not a native game fish of Panama but originate from the Amazon, Rio Negro, and Orinoco river basins of South America, where they are called Tucanare or Pavon and considered a premier game fish.

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Other articles related to "gatun lake, lake, gatun, lakes":

Gatún - Gatun and Gatun Lake Benefits
... in 1913 by the damming of the Charges River Gatun Lake is an essential part of the Panama Canal which forms a water passage between the Atlantic Ocean and ... At the time it was formed Gatun Lake was the largest man-made lake in the world ... The impassable rain-forest around Gatun Lake has been the best defense of the Panama Canal ...
MH-1A - Sturgis in Panama Canal Zone, 1968-1976
... of water were required to operate the locks and the water level on Gatun Lake fell drastically during the December-to-May dry season, and necessitated ... power from a hydroelectric plant in Panama, allowing lake water to instead be used for navigation ... The ship was moored in Gatun Lake, between the Gatun Locks and the Chagris dam spillway ...
Panama Canal Expansion Project - The Project - Gatun Lake Raised 1.5 Feet (0.46 M)
... The maximum operational level of Gatun Lake will be raised by approximately 0.45 meters (1.5 ft)—from the present PLD level of 26.7 meters (87.5 ft) to a PLD level of 27.1 ... with the widening and deepening of the navigational channels, this will increase Gatun Lake's usable water reserve capacity and allow the canal's water system to supply a daily average of 165,000 ... lockages without affecting the water supply for human use, which is also provided from Gatun and Alhajuela Lakes ...
Gatun Lake Supplementary Benefits
... Created in 1913 by the damming of the Chagres River, Gatun Lake is an essential part of the Panama Canal which forms a water passage between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, permitting ship ... At the time it was formed, Gatun Lake was the largest man-made lake in the world ... The impassable rain-forest around Gatun Lake has been the best defense of the Panama Canal ...

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