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Pánuco (pä´nōōkō), river, c.315 mi (510 km) long, rising as the Santa María River in San Luis Potosí state, N central Mexico, and flowing generally east to empty into the Gulf of Mexico near Tampico. It is navigable for c.200 mi (322 km). Tributaries, including the Moctezuma, drain, sometimes by artificial means, the Anáhuac region.