The Amazon River is the largest river in South America and the world’s largest drainage system in terms of volume of flow and basin area. The total length of Amazon River, measured from the headwaters of the Ucayali-Apurmac river system in southern Peru, is at least 4,000 miles (6,400 km), making it slightly shorter than the Nile River but still equal to the distance between New York City and Rome. Its westernmost source is high in the Andes Mountains, within 100 miles (160 km) of the Pacific Ocean, and its mouth is on the northeastern coast of Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean. However, the length of the Amazon and its ultimate source have been a source of contention since the mid-20th century, with some claiming that the Amazon is actually longer than the Nile. In this article, we will go by the history of Amazon river, its length, area, location, like each and everything about it, including some interesting facts about Amazon River. Get ready to learn about this beautiful River!
The Amazon River is a massive, intricate water system that runs through one of the world’s most vital and complex ecosystems — South America’s Amazon rainforest. In terms of volume and width, it is by far the largest river in the world, reaching a length of nearly 30 miles (48 kilometers) in some places during the rainy season. Many unique species of animals, trees, and plants live in the river and its basin. The Amazon River is the second longest river in the world. It is slightly shorter than the Nile River (4,258 miles or 6,853 km), but some experts argue that the two rivers are so close in length (because measuring methods differ and there is still some debate over their true sources) that it is difficult to say which is longer. During the dry season (June to November), the width of Amazon River ranges from 2 to 6 miles (3.2 to 9.6 km), depending on the area, and during the wet season (December to April), the width can reach 30 miles (48 kilometers). During the wet season, the current can reach speeds of up to 4 mph (6.4 km/h).
History of Amazon River is given as it began as a transcontinental river approximately 11 million years ago and assumed its current shape approximately 2.4 million years ago, according to the researchers. The findings are consistent with previous research that put the origin of an eastward-flowing Amazon river at 10 million years. According to one popular theory, the Amazon once flowed west from the interior of present-day Africa, possibly as part of a proto-Congo river system, when the continents were joined as part of Gondwanaland.
Do you know, what is Amazon basin? The Amazon basin is the vast area of land drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries. It accounts for approximately 38% of South America’s total land area, covering a total of 2.67 million square miles (6.9 million square kilometers). The lowlands around the river and its tributaries flood every year, greatly enriching the soil. The rainforest, or selva, covers more than two-thirds of the basin. The basin is located in six countries, according to the Center for Global Environmental Education: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela. Brazil is home to the majority of the basin and roughly two-thirds of the river. The Amazon basin is home to several large cities, including Belem, Brazil, which is located at the mouth of the Amazon River and has a population of 1.3 million people; Santarem, Brazil, which is located at the confluence of the Amazon River and the Tapajos River; Manaus, Brazil, which has a population of 2 million people and is located in the middle of the jungle; and Iquitos, Peru, which is a port city and gateway to the tribal villages of the Northern Amazon.
According to NASA, the Amazon River is intricately linked to the delicate ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest, the largest rainforest in the world, which covers approximately 80% of the Amazon River basin. More than one-third of all known species live in the Amazon rainforest. It has remarkable complexity, with as many as 100 arboreal species found on a single acre, with few of these occurring more than once. The Amazon rainforest is often referred to as the Lungs of Earth because it functions as a massive air machine, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing vast amounts of life-sustaining oxygen. The rainforest has a distinct layering system that includes the emergent layer, the canopy, the understory, and the forest floor (opens in new tab). The canopy is home to 70-90 percent of the rainforest’s life. These trees’ crowns form a tight continuous canopy 60 to 90 feet (18.3 to 27.4 m) above ground, and can reach up to 120 feet (36.6 m). Other plants (epiphytes) cover the branches, which are tied together with vines. The canopy regulates temperature and humidity and is intricately linked to the climate of the region.
Facts about Amazon River
The Amazon River is unlike any other river on the planet. Its massive volumes of water feed the adjacent Amazon Rainforest, make bridge construction impossible, and even raise the height of the Caribbean Sea’s ocean. Aside from its role as a global freshwater powerhouse, the Amazon River’s geologic past, unique wildlife, and impact on human history make it one of the most fascinating places on Earth. Here are some interesting facts about Amazon River.
It is the world’s largest river in terms of volume
One of the most interesting facts about Amazon River is that Amazon River contains the most freshwater of any river on the planet. Every second, the River discharges approximately 200,000 liters of freshwater into the ocean. This combined freshwater flow accounts for nearly 20% of all river water entering the sea.
Its name resulted from a Greek Myth
Francisco de Orellana, the first European explorer to reach the area, named the Amazon River and the Amazon Rainforest after meeting the indigenous Pira-tapuya people. Pira-tapuya men and women fought alongside one another in a battle against de Orellana and his men. The “Amazons,” according to Greek mythology, were a group of nomadic female warriors who roamed the Black Sea. The myth of the Amazons is based on the Scythians, a group known for being masters of horseback riding and archery. While the Scythians were not an all-female society, as Greek myth suggests, women in Scythian society joined men in hunting and battle.
It passes through four countries
The Amazon River flows through Brazil, Columbia, Peru, and Venezuela, with Brazil controlling the vast majority of the river. Even more countries are included in the Amazon River’s watershed, or the areas from which it receives freshwater. Rainfall in Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela also contributes significantly to the Amazon River’s freshwater supply.
Second-longest river in the world
The Amazon River is the world’s second-longest river, stretching approximately 4,000 miles. The Nile River, which runs 4,132 miles, is longer than the Amazon. The Yangtze River, which is only about 85 miles shorter than the Amazon, is the next-longest river after the Amazon.
It has an impact on sea level in the Caribbean Sea
The Amazon River discharges so much freshwater into the Atlantic Ocean that it causes sea levels in the Caribbean to rise. As freshwater exits the Amazon, it is picked up by the Caribbean Current, which transports it to the Caribbean islands. Models predict that the Amazon River alone raises sea levels in the Caribbean by about 3 cm above what they would be without the Amazon’s freshwater contributions.
The Amazon River Dolphin calls it home
Facts about Amazon River: One of only four species of “true” river dolphins is the Amazon River Dolphin, also known as the pink river dolphin or boto. River dolphins, unlike their ocean-dwelling counterparts, live entirely in freshwater habitats. The Amazon River Dolphin is thought to have evolved around 18 million years ago, based on a fossilized dolphin discovered in Peru’s Pisco Basin. While the Amazon River dolphin is abundant in the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, it is now considered an endangered species due to recent population declines caused by a variety of human activities. Damming and pollution of the Amazon River have a particularly negative impact on Amazon River dolphin populations. Fishermen also kill dolphins to use as bait to catch catfish.
Amazon River Flowed in the opposite direction once
The Amazon River flowed in the opposite direction it does today between 65 and 145 million years ago, towards the Pacific Ocean. There was once a highland near the Amazon River’s mouth that allowed for this westerly flow. The westward rise of the Andes Mountains forced the Amazon River to change course.
The Dorado Catfish is also found here
Facts about Amazon River: The dorado catfish is one of six “goliath” catfish species in the Amazon. The goliath catfishes, like the capaz and mota catfishes, are commercially important species, with the dorado catfish being the most important of all Amazon catfish. The dorado catfish can reach lengths of over six feet and travels over 7,200 miles to complete its life cycle.
It has more than 100 dams
According to a 2018 study, the Amazon River’s Andean headwaters are home to 142 dams, with another 160 planned. 8 The dams generate electricity through hydropower, but they harm the Amazon River system’s ecology. Fishermen in Brazil’s Amazon River tributary, the Madeira River, have already reported negative effects on the system’s fish, which scientists attribute to the construction of hydroelectric dams.
Amazon River has no bridges
Facts about Amazon River: All 10 million people who live along the Amazon River’s banks can only cross the freshwater flow by boat. The lack of bridges is caused by seasonal changes in the Amazon River bed. During the rainy season, the Amazon River can rise more than 30 feet, tripling its width in some places. The Amazon’s soft river banks erode as a result of seasonal flooding, transforming previously stable areas into unstable floodplains. To have firm footing, any bridge crossing the Amazon River would have to be extremely long. There are also few roads connecting to the Amazon River, with the Amazon River itself serving as the primary mode of transportation for most people.
It is the final destination of 40% of all water in South America
The height of Amazon River rises significantly during the rainy season because it receives approximately 40% of all water in South America. The Amazon River watershed collects rainfall from miles around the Amazon River, including the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Rainforest, like a wide net.