The lake itself is most interesting...
Lake Maracaibo acts as a major shipping route to the ports of Maracaibo and Cabimas. The surrounding Maracaibo Basin contains large reserves of crude oil, making the lake a major profit center for Venezuela. It also holds almost a quarter of Venezuela's population. A dredged channel gives oceangoing vessels access to the bay. The 8.7-kilometre (5.4 mi) long General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge which was completed in 1962 spanning the bay's outlet is one of the longest bridges in the world.
The weather phenomenon known as the Catatumbo lightning at Lake Maracaibo regularly produces more lightning than any other place on the planet.
The Catatumbo Lightning (Spanish: Relámpago del Catatumbo)] is an atmospheric phenomenon in Venezuela. It occurs only over the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it empties into Lake Maracaibo. The frequent, powerful flashes of lightning over this relatively small area are considered to be the world's largest single generator of tropospheric ozone.
It originates from a mass of storm clouds at a height of more than 5 km, and occurs during 140 to 160 nights a year, 10 hours per day and up to 280 times per hour. It occurs over and around Lake Maracaibo, typically over the bog area formed where the Catatumbo River flows into the lake.
After appearing continually for centuries, the lightning ceased from January to April 2010, apparently due to drought, temporarily raising fears that it might have been extinguished permanently.
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