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For other uses, see Orinoco (disambiguation). Orinoco_sentence_0


Orinoco River

Río OrinocoOrinoco_header_cell_0_0_0

CountriesOrinoco_header_cell_0_2_0 Orinoco_cell_0_2_1
RegionOrinoco_header_cell_0_3_0 South AmericaOrinoco_cell_0_3_1
Physical characteristicsOrinoco_header_cell_0_4_0
SourceOrinoco_header_cell_0_5_0 Hydrological source (Main stem)Orinoco_cell_0_5_1
locationOrinoco_header_cell_0_6_0 Cerro Delgado-Chalbaud, Parima Mountains, VenezuelaOrinoco_cell_0_6_1
coordinatesOrinoco_header_cell_0_7_0 Orinoco_cell_0_7_1
elevationOrinoco_header_cell_0_8_0 1,047 m (3,435 ft)Orinoco_cell_0_8_1
2nd sourceOrinoco_header_cell_0_9_0 Geographical source (Orinoco-Guaviare-Guayabero-Papamene-Sorrento)Orinoco_cell_0_9_1
locationOrinoco_header_cell_0_10_0 Headwaters of Rio Sorrento, Paramo de Sumapaz, Meta, ColombiaOrinoco_cell_0_10_1
coordinatesOrinoco_header_cell_0_11_0 (approximately)Orinoco_cell_0_11_1
elevationOrinoco_header_cell_0_12_0 3,530 m (11,580 ft) (approximately)Orinoco_cell_0_12_1
MouthOrinoco_header_cell_0_13_0 Delta AmacuroOrinoco_cell_0_13_1
locationOrinoco_header_cell_0_14_0 Atlantic Ocean, VenezuelaOrinoco_cell_0_14_1
coordinatesOrinoco_header_cell_0_15_0 Orinoco_cell_0_15_1
elevationOrinoco_header_cell_0_16_0 0 m (0 ft)Orinoco_cell_0_16_1
LengthOrinoco_header_cell_0_17_0 2,250 km (1,400 mi)Orinoco_cell_0_17_1
Basin sizeOrinoco_header_cell_0_18_0 880,000 km (340,000 sq mi)Orinoco_cell_0_18_1
DischargeOrinoco_header_cell_0_19_0 Orinoco_cell_0_19_1
averageOrinoco_header_cell_0_20_0 37,000 m/s (1,300,000 cu ft/s)Orinoco_cell_0_20_1
minimumOrinoco_header_cell_0_21_0 21,000 m/s (740,000 cu ft/s)Orinoco_cell_0_21_1
maximumOrinoco_header_cell_0_22_0 54,000 m/s (1,900,000 cu ft/s)Orinoco_cell_0_22_1

The Orinoco River (Spanish pronunciation: [oɾiˈnoko) is one of the longest rivers in South America at 2,250 kilometres (1,400 mi). Orinoco_sentence_1

Its drainage basin, sometimes known as the Orinoquia, covers 880,000 km (340,000 sq mi), with 76.3 percent of it in Venezuela and the remainder in Colombia. Orinoco_sentence_2

It is the fourth largest river in the world by discharge volume of water. Orinoco_sentence_3

The Orinoco River and its tributaries are the major transportation system for eastern and interior Venezuela and the Llanos of Colombia. Orinoco_sentence_4

The environment in the Orinoco's basin is extremely diverse; it hosts a wide variety of flora and fauna. Orinoco_sentence_5

Etymology Orinoco_section_0

The river's name is derived from the Warao term for "a place to paddle", itself derived from the terms güiri (paddle) and noko (place) i.e. a navigable place. Orinoco_sentence_6

History Orinoco_section_1

The mouth of the Orinoco River at the Atlantic Ocean was documented by Christopher Columbus on 1 August 1498, during his third voyage. Orinoco_sentence_7

Its source at the Cerro Delgado–Chalbaud, in the Parima range, was not explored until 453 years later, in 1951. Orinoco_sentence_8

The source, near the Venezuelan–Brazilian border, at 1,047 metres (3,435 ft) above sea level (), was explored in 1951 by a joint French-Venezuelan expedition. Orinoco_sentence_9

The Orinoco, as well as its tributaries in the eastern llanos such as the Apure and Meta, were explored in the 16th century by German expeditions under Ambrosius Ehinger and his successors. Orinoco_sentence_10

In 1531, starting at the principal outlet in the delta, the Boca de Navios, Diego de Ordaz sailed up the river to the Meta. Orinoco_sentence_11

Antonio de Berrio sailed down the Casanare to the Meta, and then down the Orinoco River and back to Coro. Orinoco_sentence_12

In 1595, after capturing de Berrio to obtain information while conducting an expedition to find the fabled city of El Dorado, the Englishman Sir Walter Raleigh sailed down the river, reaching the savanna country. Orinoco_sentence_13

Alexander von Humboldt explored the basin in 1800, reporting on the pink river dolphins. Orinoco_sentence_14

He published extensively on the river's flora and fauna. Orinoco_sentence_15

The sources of the Orinoco River, located at Cerro Carlos Delgado Chalbaud (2º19’05” N, 63º21’42” W), were discovered in 1951 by the French-Venezuelan expedition that went back and explored the Upper Orinoco course to the Sierra Parima near the border with Brasil, headed by Venezuelan army officer Frank Risquez Iribarren. Orinoco_sentence_16

The first bridge across the Orinoco River, the Angostura Bridge at Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela, was completed in 1967. Orinoco_sentence_17

In 1968, an expedition was set off by National Geographic and Hovercraft from Manaus in Brazil to Port Of Spain (Trinidad). Orinoco_sentence_18

Aboard of a SR.N6 hoverwork the expedicionaries followed the Negro river upstream to where it is joined by the Casiquiare canal in the border between Colombia and Venezuela. Orinoco_sentence_19

After following the Casiquiare to the Orinoco River they hovered thru perilous Rapids of Maipures and Atures. Orinoco_sentence_20

The Orinoco was then traversed down to its mouths in gulf of Paria and then to Port of Spain. Orinoco_sentence_21

The primary purpose of the expedition was filming for the BBC series "The World About Us" the episode "The Last Great Journey on Earth from Amazon to Orinoco by Hovercraft", aired in 1970, and demonstrate the abilities of a hovercraft, thereby promoting sales of this British invention. Orinoco_sentence_22

The first powerline crossing of the Orinoco River was completed in 1981 for an 800 kV TL single span of 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) using two towers 110 metres (360 ft) tall. Orinoco_sentence_23

In 1992, an overhead power line crossing for two 400 kV-circuits was completed just west of Morocure (between the cities of Ciudad Bolivar and Ciudad Guayana), north of the confluence of Routes 1 and 19. Orinoco_sentence_24

It had three towers, and the two spans measured 2,161 metres (7,090 ft) and 2,537 metres (8,323 ft), respectively. Orinoco_sentence_25

In 2006, a second bridge, known as the Orinoquia Bridge, was completed near Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela. Orinoco_sentence_26

Geography Orinoco_section_2

The course of the Orinoco forms a wide ellipsoidal arc, surrounding the Guiana Shield; it is divided in four stretches of unequal length that very roughly correspond to the longitudinal zonation of a typical large river: Orinoco_sentence_27


  • Upper Orinoco – 286 kilometres (178 mi) long, from its headwaters to the rapids Raudales de Guaharibos, flows through mountainous landscape in a northwesterly directionOrinoco_item_0_0
  • Middle Orinoco – 805 kilometres (500 mi) long, divided into two sectors, the first of which ca. 515 kilometres (320 mi) long has a general westward direction down to the confluence with the Atabapo and Guaviare rivers at San Fernando de Atabapo; the second flows northward, for about 290 kilometres (180 mi), along the Venezuelan–Colombian border, flanked on both sides by the westernmost granitic upwellings of the Guiana Shield which impede the development of a flood plain, to the Atures rapids near the confluence with the Meta River at Puerto CarreñoOrinoco_item_0_1
  • Lower Orinoco – 959 kilometres (596 mi) long with a well-developed alluvial plain, flows in a northeast direction, from Atures rapids down to Piacoa in front of BarrancasOrinoco_item_0_2
  • Delta Amacuro – 200 kilometres (120 mi) long that empties into the Gulf of Paría and the Atlantic Ocean, a very large delta, some 22,500 km (8,700 sq mi) and 370 kilometres (230 mi) at its widest.Orinoco_item_0_3

At its mouth, the Orinoco River forms a wide delta that branches off into hundreds of rivers and waterways that flow through 41,000 km (16,000 sq mi) of swampy forests. Orinoco_sentence_28

In the rainy season, the Orinoco River can swell to a breadth of 22 kilometres (14 mi) and a depth of 100 metres (330 ft). Orinoco_sentence_29

Most of the important Venezuelan rivers are tributaries of the Orinoco River, the largest being the Caroní, which joins it at Puerto Ordaz, close to the Llovizna Falls. Orinoco_sentence_30

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 Orinoco and Amazon. Orinoco_sentence_31

Major rivers in the Orinoco Basin Orinoco_section_3


  • Apure: from Venezuela through the east into the OrinocoOrinoco_item_1_4
  • Arauca: from Colombia to Venezuela east into the OrinocoOrinoco_item_1_5
  • Atabapo: from the Guiana Highlands of Venezuela north into the OrinocoOrinoco_item_1_6
  • Caroní: from the Guiana Highlands of Venezuela north into the OrinocoOrinoco_item_1_7
  • Casiquiare canal: in SE Venezuela, a distributary from the Orinoco flowing west to the Negro River, a major affluent to the AmazonOrinoco_item_1_8
  • Caura: from eastern Venezuela (Guiana Highlands) north into the OrinocoOrinoco_item_1_9
  • Guaviare: from Colombia east into the OrinocoOrinoco_item_1_10
  • Inírida: from Colombia southeast into the Guaviare.Orinoco_item_1_11
  • Meta: from Colombia, border with Venezuela east into the OrinocoOrinoco_item_1_12
  • Ventuari: from eastern Venezuela (the Guiana Highlands) southwest into the OrinocoOrinoco_item_1_13
  • Vichada: from Colombia east into the OrinocoOrinoco_item_1_14

See also: Casiquiare canal-Orinoco River hydrographic divide Orinoco_sentence_32

Ecology Orinoco_section_4

The boto and the giant otter inhabit the Orinoco River system. Orinoco_sentence_33

The Orinoco crocodile is one of the rarest reptiles in the world. Orinoco_sentence_34

Its range in the wild is restricted to the middle and lower Orinoco River Basin. Orinoco_sentence_35

More than 1000 fish species have been recorded in the river basin and about 15% are endemic. Orinoco_sentence_36

Among the fish in the river are species found in brackish or salt water in the Orinoco estuary, but also many restricted to fresh water. Orinoco_sentence_37

By far the largest orders are Characiformes and Siluriformes, which together account for more than 80% of the fresh water species. Orinoco_sentence_38

Some of the more famous are the black spot piranha and the cardinal tetra. Orinoco_sentence_39

The latter species, which is important in the aquarium industry, is also found in the Rio Negro, revealing the connection between this river and the Orinoco through the Casiquiare canal. Orinoco_sentence_40

Because the Casiquiare includes both blackwater and clear- to whitewater sections, only relatively adaptable species are able to pass through it between the two river systems. Orinoco_sentence_41

Economic activity Orinoco_section_5

The river is navigable for most of its length, and dredging enables ocean ships to go as far as Ciudad Bolívar, at the confluence of the Caroní River, 435 kilometres (270 mi) upstream. Orinoco_sentence_42

River steamers carry cargo as far as Puerto Ayacucho and the Atures Rapids. Orinoco_sentence_43

El Florero iron mine Orinoco_section_6

In 1926, a Venezuelan mining inspector found one of the richest iron ore deposits near the Orinoco delta, south of the city of San Felix on a mountain named El Florero. Orinoco_sentence_44

Full-scale mining of the ore deposits began after World War II, by a conglomerate of Venezuelan firms and US steel companies. Orinoco_sentence_45

At the start in the early 1950s, about 10,000 tons of ore-bearing soil was mined per day. Orinoco_sentence_46

Tar sands Orinoco_section_7

The Orinoco River deposits also contain extensive tar sands in the Orinoco oil belt, which may be a source of future oil production. Orinoco_sentence_47

Eastern Venezuelan basin Orinoco_section_8

Encompassing the states of Anzoategui-Guarico and Monagas states, the Interior Range forms the northern boundary and the Guayana Shield the southern boundary. Orinoco_sentence_48

Maturin forms the eastern subbasin and Guarico forms the western subbasin. Orinoco_sentence_49

The El Furrial oil field was discovered in 1978, producing from late Oligocene shallow marine sandstones in an overthrusted foreland basin. Orinoco_sentence_50

Recreation and sports Orinoco_section_9

Since 1973, the Civil Association Nuestros Rios son Navegables organize the Internacional Rally Nuestros Rios son Navegables, a motonautical round trip of over 1,200 kilometers through the Orinoco, Meta and Apure Rivers. Orinoco_sentence_51

Starting out from Ciudad Bolívar or San Fernando de Apure, is the longest fluvial rally in the world with the participation of worldwide competitors, more than 30 support boats, logistics teams, thousands of tourists and fans travel. Orinoco_sentence_52

The boats had an average speed of 120 miles per hour. Orinoco_sentence_53

Since 1988, the local government of Ciudad Guayana has conducted a swim race in the rivers Orinoco and Caroní, with up to 1,000 competitors. Orinoco_sentence_54

Since 1991, the Paso a Nado Internacional de los Rios Orinoco–Caroní has been celebrated every year, on a Sunday close to 19 April. Orinoco_sentence_55

Worldwide, this swim-meet has grown in importance, and it has a large number of competitors. Orinoco_sentence_56

The 26th meet was held in 2016. Orinoco_sentence_57

See also Orinoco_section_10


  • Adaheli, the Sun in the mythology of the Orinoco regionOrinoco_item_2_15
  • Orinoco Flow - the song uses the Orinoco and its environs as a theme for its lyricsOrinoco_item_2_16

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orinoco.