Caura River (Venezuela)

The Caura is a tributary of the Orinoco River, located in Bolívar State in Venezuela. Its flow is the second after the Caroni River among the affluents of the Orinoco River, with almost 3.000 m³/s. The river is inhabited by both the Ye'kuana and Sanema indigenous groups.

The Caura Basin

Length of the Caura River is about 723 km. Its major tributary (almost as big as the Caura) is the Erebato. Both rivers emerge from the Jaua-Sarisariñama Plateau (more than 2000 meters above sea level). The Caura is navigable up to Para Falls (Salto Pará), an impressive waterfall formed by two branches of the river with an island in the middle Both branches have some rapids and join in one of the most remarkable waterfalls in the Orinoco basin, not because of its height, but because of the impressive flow of water. The Caura is a Blackwater river, like the Caroní, the Ventuari River and the upper Orinoco. The Caura is 1,500 m wide at Musinacio (Musiú Ignacio ), the point where it joins the Orinoco (almost a mile wide).

The Microclimate created by the Caura and Orinoco rivers

Satellite images in the Intertropical Zone show an interesting lack of clouds above the biggest rivers, such as the Caura and Orinoco, and also in the Amazon river. We need to take into account two facts:

  • Satellite images, like aerial ones, are taken in the morning, when there are less clouds in the atmosphere.
  • Sunshine heats up both water in rivers and land surface. However, water needs much more time to heating up than land does and atmosphere air is not heated by solar rays because it is diathermanous. It is heat coming up from soil and river waters, which in turn heat up the atmosphere. Therefore, difference of temperature between land and rivers is at its maximum at 10 o'clock in the morning (more or less). At that time, land surface reflects heat to the atmosphere, making air to ascend and condensate, forming clouds, while water is still heating up and, thus, there is not outcoming heat to the atmosphere.


  • WILLIAMS, Llewelin. Exploraciones botánicas en la Guayana venezolana. El medio y bajo Caura. Caracas: Tipografía La Nación, 1942.
  • CHAFFANJON, Jean. Voyage à travers les Llanos du Caura et aux Sources de l’Orénoque. Paris: 1885-87.
  • CHAFFANJON, Jean. L’Orénoque et le Caura. Relation de voyages exécutés en 1886 et 1887. Paris, Hachette et Cie., 1889. Edición en castellano: El Orinoco y el Caura. Caracas: Fondo Cultural Orinoco, Editorial Croquis S.R.L., 1986.

External links

Commons Orinoco Basin gallery:

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