Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lake Titicaca’s Rise to its Present Height

Today, Lake Titicaca in South America is considered a fresh water lake. However, in earlier times, it was an inland salt water lake high in the Andes, after being pushed up to over 12,000 feet from its once sea-level existence. Countless articles have been written about its diminishing salt water content and existence of salt water fish and flora within the lake itself.

It should be noted that lakes are measured, in part, by their “Residence Time,” that is, the time it takes for the water to be flushed from the lake and replaced by new water. Also called “Lake Retention Time,” it is the measurement of the age of the water within the lake. At its simplest, this figure is the result of dividing the lake volume by the flow in or out of the lake. It roughly expresses the amount of time taken for a substance introduced into a lake to flow out of it again.

In the  case of Lake Titicaca, the Residence Time is 1343 years. By comparison, Lake Tahoe in Nevada/California, is 650 years, the Caspian Sea is 250 years, Lake Superior is 191 years, Lake Michigan is 99 years, Lake Huron is 22 years, Bear Lake in Utah is 19.6 years, Lake Powell in Utah is 7.2 years, Lake Ontario is 6 years, Lake Erie is 2.6 years, and Devil’s Lake in Oregon is about 4.5 weeks. In all, of the top 195 lakes in the world, only three have longer resident time than Lake Titicaca (Lake  Qaban in Russia, of several thousand years; Lake Poyang in China of 5000 years; and Lake Vostok in Antartica of 13300 years).

The point is, that once Lake Titicaca was raised up from sea level, no doubt around 2000 years ago (about the time the Sea East disappeared from mention in the Land of Promise), all of the original sea water content was drained from the lake after 1343 years. It was replaced by fresh water from the five river systems of the high Andes, and over two dozen small rivers and streams. The lake is now midway into the second retention period (or flushing) and still retains a little of the original salt residue from the first retention period.

Lake Titicaca drains to the south along the Altiplano tableland, spreading out over the Desaguadero Basin and toward Lake Poopó, and from there into the largest Salt Flat in the world—over twenty-five times larger than Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah

Now, if this truly happened, that Lake Titicaca once contained salt water, its drainage of salt would be quite noticeable in the downstream of the current lake’s outflow. Which it is along the Altiplano south of Titicaca where salt has accumulated along the slightly sloping tableland which drops 400 feet from Titicaca to Poopó.

The Salar de Tunupa: Top LtoR: Crusted over salt flats stretch for miles; in places an ankle-deep water appears where the water has not fully evaporated leaving just the salt; Bottom LtoR: Mining firms gather the salt and stack it for shipment; on both sides of the seepage area, now mostly salt, lies the desert hills of the Altiplano

Lake Poopó is a large saline lake located in a shallow depression in the Altiplano Mountains in Bolivia at an altitude of just over 12,000 feet. The lake is about 56 miles long and about 20 miles wide, covering approximately 621 miles. The lake receives most of its water from the Desaguadero River, which drains Lake Titicaca. Since Lake Poopó is little more than a depression in the tableland and lacks any major outlet with a mean depth of only eight to ten feet, the surface area varies greatly. Throughout this Altiplano south of Lake Titicaca and around Lake Poopó lies the Salar de Uyuni, or Salar de Tunupa, the worlds’s largest salt flat at about 4,000 square miles, containing about 10 billion tons of salt. This Salar was formed as a result of transformations between these high-altitude lakes, beginning with Titicaca and including several drainage sumps formed by the lakes outflow.

It is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness with the average altitude variations within one meter over the entire area of the Salar. The crust serves as a source of salt and covers a pool of brine, which is exceptionally rich in lithium, containing 50 to 70% of the world's lithium reserves.

For approximately two thousand years, Lake Titicaca has been draining, or exchanging the age of the water, leaving the lake mostly fresh water today, with billions of tons of salt lying along the flat tableland of Uyuni Salt Flat to the south and within the brine-filled Lake Poopó which, with no basic outlet, and only an 8 to 10 foot deep depression, overflows into the Coipasa Salt Flat to its southwest.

Obviously, when one starts to look for ideas, such as the Andes rising at the time of Christ’s crucifixion, and Lake Titicaca once part of the Sea East (Atlantic ocean), then there must be some proof of such an act other than one’s belief in its happening. In the case of Titicaca, the exchange of water and the resultant salt forming to the south is mute evidence of such an event. Even to the extent that Titicaca is still slightly salty, skeletons of salt-water, ocean-dwelling fish have been found within it, and its shoreline is littered with millions of fossilized seashells. The marine fishes and seahorses in the lake are all oceanic types found only in salt water. In addition, the banks of the fresh water Desaguadero River is flanked by a halophytic prairie (salt tolerant), which is composed of quaternary silts of saline soils, and the vegetation is adapted to high concentrations of salts, suggesting this fresh water river (the outflow of Lake Titicaca) was once a river with high salt content. And finally, archaeologists searching around the area have located the remains of what they consider to be stone wharfs used for shipping when Tihuanaco was a viable seaport. 

1 comment:

  1. I realize this is an old post, but I recently tried to look up details on freshwater seahorses and was unable to find any documentation of such. While my research has not been exhaustive, the official descriptions of the lake do not include it and other sites claim that this was either a hoax or the result of a fisherman giving a dried seahorse to a tourist or researcher, possibly as medicine, and they thought it was taken from the lake. I do not recall if this was included in either of your first two books, or just on this website. I'll check the books when I can.