Bathymetric and morphometric surveys of the Montebello Lakes, Chiapas

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Javier Alcocer *
Luis A. Oseguera
Guillermo Sánchez
Circe G. González
Joaquín R. Martínez
Rigel González
(*) Corresponding Author:
Javier Alcocer | jalcocer@unam.mx

Abstract

This study presents the first bathymetric surveys and descriptions of the morphometric parameters of the major lakes of the national park and Ramsar Convention site Lagunas de Montebello, Chiapas, Mexico and represents the first contribution on these limnologically unknown lakes. The morphology of lacustrine basins has an important influence on the physical, chemical and biological dynamics, and limnological research must consider the bathymetry and the related morphometric parameters of the lakes. Of the more than 50 lakes that make up this karst lake system (including dolines, uvalas and poljes), 18 representative lakes were selected along a NW-SE transect. The lakes have widely varying dimensions and include small and deep, small and shallow, large and deep, and large and shallow lakes. The shapes of the lakes vary from circular to elliptical, and the basin resembles an inverted truncated cone. The orientation of the main axis follows the structural orientations of the karst landscape (i.e., faults, fractures and folds). The maximum lengths range from 0.14 to 3.2 km, the surface areas range from 1.1 ha to 306.6 ha, and the lake volumes range from 0.00004 to 0.08852 km3. Six lakes are among the deepest lakes in Mexico and have an average maximum depth of more than 50 m; the deepest lake has a maximum depth of 198 m. These depths favor prolonged stratification, which increases the probability of accumulating pollutants.

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