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Lake Pátzcuaro

Lake Pátzcuaro (Lago de Pátzcuaro) is a lake in the state of Michoacán. The lake lies in an endorheic basin, which does not drain into the sea. A watershed area of 929 sq km drains into the lake, of which 126 are the water body.

Lake Pátzcuaro watershed extends 50 km east-west and 33 km from north to south.

Lake Pátzcuaro lies at an elevation of 1920 meters, is the center of the basin, and is surrounded by volcanic mountains with very steep slopes. It has an average depth of 5 meters and a maximum of 11.

Its volume is approximately 580 million cubic meters.

The Lake Pátzcuaro basin is of volcanic origin. At times it has been part of an open and continuous hydrological system formed by Lake Cuitzeo, Pátzcuaro, and Lake Zirahuén, which drained into the Lerma River.

The lake is surrounded by extensive wetlands.

Cattails and other reedy vegetation are the dominant wetland vegetation, in dense stands over 2 m tall. The wetlands are extremely important for birds, both year-round inhabitants, and migrating waterfowl.

Close to 200 species inhabit the wetlands, including some endemic species.

The Lake Pátzcuaro basin is home to the Purépecha people. Purépecha leaders established the basin as the heartland of the Tarascan state, which rivaled the Aztec Empire before the Spanish conquest.

The towns of Ihuatzio, Tzintzuntzan, and Pátzcuaro were important Purépecha centers.

Islands in the lake

  • Jaracuaro
  • Uranden
  • Janitzio
  • Pacanda
  • Yunuen
  • Tecuena

Towns along the lake shore

  • Pátzcuaro
  • Erongarícuaro
  • Quiroga
  • Tzintzuntzan
  • Tocuaro
  • Opongio
  • Puacuaro
  • Arocutin
  • Ihuatzio
  • Santa Fe La Laguna
  • Cucuchuchu
  • Uricho
  • Napizaro
  • Erongarícuaro

Lake Pátzcuaro on Google Maps

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