Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
With a length of 2,140 km, the Orinoco is one of the largest rivers of South America. It flows through Venezuela, having its source in Parima on the Brazilian frontier, and from there making a wide arc, first flowing southwest, then west, north and finally northeast, into the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Paria.
At its mouth it forms a wide delta that branches off into hundreds of rivers and waterways that flow through 41,000 km² of swampy forests. In the rainy season it can swell to a breadth of 22 kilometres and a depth of 100 meters. Most of the important Venezuelan rivers are tributaries of the Orinoco, the largest being the Caroní, which joins the Orinoco at Puerto Ordaz, close to the Llovizna Falls. The river is navigable for most of its length, and dredging enables ocean ships to go as far as Ciudad Bolívar, 435 km upstream. You can find it at about 9 degrees north (latitude) and 60 degrees west (longitude).
A peculiarity of the Orinoco river system is the Casiquiare canal, which starts as an arm of the Orinoco, and finds its way to the Rio Negro, a tributary of the Amazon, thus forming a 'natural canal' between the Orinoco and the Amazon.
This region also contains large tar sands which may be a source of future oil production.
The city of Guayana, and the Alcaldia Mayor de Caroní (ALMACARONÍ) has for the past 15 years conducted a swim race of the rivers Orinoco and Caroní where around 900 competitors meet. The "Paso a Nado Internacional de los Rios Orinoco-Caroní" is celebrated every year close to the 19th of April on a sunday. This competition has gained importance worldwide and is one of the swim-meet with the most competitors worldwide.
- Stark, James H. 1897. Stark's Guide-Book and History of Trinidad including Tobago, Granada, and St. Vincent; also a trip up the Orinoco and a description of the great Venezuelan Pitch Lake. Boston, James H. Stark, publisher; London, Sampson Low, Marston & Company. (This book has an excellent description of a trip up the Orinoco as far as Ciudad Bolivar and a detailed description of the Venezuelan Pitch Lake situate on the western side of the Gulf of Paria opposite Trinidad.)
Orinoco is also the name of one of The Wombles, all of whom take their names from an old atlas.
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