Río Loa

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Río Loa
Río Loa (Antofagasta region)
El Abra
El Abra
Mining symbol.svg
Tranque Sloman
Tranque Sloman
Embalse Conchi
Embalse Conchi
| center | 326x326px | Course of the Río Loa]]

Course of the Río Loa

location ChileChile Chile , Antofagasta Region
River system Río Loa
Headwaters Laguna Seca north of the Miño volcano
21 ° 4 ′ 9 ″  S , 68 ° 30 ′ 27 ″  W
Source height approx.  4000  m
muzzle in the Pacific Coordinates: 21 ° 25 ′ 48 ″  S , 70 ° 3 ′ 27 ″  W 21 ° 25 ′ 48 ″  S , 70 ° 3 ′ 27 ″  W.
Mouth height m
Height difference approx. 4000 m
Bottom slope approx. 9 ‰
length 443 km
Catchment area 33,570 km²
Drain MQ
2.43 m³ / s
Left tributaries Río San Pedro de Inacaliri , Río Salado
Right tributaries Río San Salvador
Reservoirs flowed through Embalse Conchi, Tranque Sloman, Tranque Santa Fe
Big cities Calama
Río Loa in Calama

Río Loa in Calama

The Río Loa is a river in the Atacama Desert in Chile , in the Región de Antofagasta . At 443 km, it is the longest of the great transversal rivers in Chile that originate in the Andes and flow into the Pacific.


The river has its source in the Andes, in a valley called Laguna Seca ("dry lake") north of the Miño volcano (5611 m), in which numerous streams gather. From the headwaters it flows further in a deeply cut gorge, initially southwards over a distance of 150 km to the Chiu-Chiu oasis . The main tributaries in this area are the Río San Pedro de Inacaliri and the Río Salado. At Chiu-Chiu it changes its direction of flow to the west, past the mining town of Calama , over 115 km to a point called Chacance, where the Río San Salvador flows into it. From there it flows further north and after another 80 km it reaches the Quillagua oasis . Then it continues to flow in an arc, turning to the west. It crosses the coastal mountains in a 500 m deep gorge and then flows into the Pacific Ocean at Caleta Huelén .

The river is dammed in several places. There is often pollution with heavy metals from the Chuquicamata copper mine and other industrial waste. The city of Calama has insufficient sewage treatment plants.

The ruins of the Inca fortress Pukará de Lasana are located on the Río Loa .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Hans Niemeyer Fernández: Hoyas hidrográficas de Chile . 2 a Región de Antofagasta. Ed .: Ministerio de Obras Públicas. Dirección General de Aguas. Santiago de Chile 1980 ( online (PDF; 4.4 MB) [accessed April 2, 2016]).
  2. Soviet General Staff Map , accessed on topomapper.com on May 9, 2013

Web links

Commons : Río Loa  - collection of images, videos and audio files