The Mighty Amazon… eighth wonder of the world
The Amazon River
The headwaters of the mighty Amazon River originate in Peru. It is the largest and longest river system in the world, rivaled only by the Nile River.
The Amazon River basin covers some 40% of the South American continent. The Amazon rainforest covers an area nearly equal to the size of the U.S. mainland. The Amazon River itself is the most voluminous river on Earth, eleven times the volume of the Mississippi. The river’s mouth can be an unbelievable 300 miles wide during high water season.
The Amazon is the largest river in the world by water flow, pushing out an astonishing 12,540,000 cubic meters of water every minute—enough power from the tremendous water outflow each day to keep New York City in electricity for 9 years. That’s power!
At its widest point in Brazil, the mighty Amazon River is 40 miles across. Oceangoing vessels can sail the 2,300 miles from the Atlantic Ocean upriver to Iquitos, Peru`s major port on the Upper Amazon.
There are some fascinating little-known facts about the mysteries of the Amazon:
The Amazon River originally flowed in the opposite direction.
Up until 15 million years ago, the Amazon River flow into the Pacific Ocean, but now it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The upheaval formation of the mighty Andes mountain range caused it start flowing into the Atlantic. Interesting phenomenon!
There are no bridges built across the Amazon River.
The Amazon runs over 4,300 miles from its headwaters in the Andes to its massive delta where it pours out into the Atlantic. It’s a fact that there are no bridges on the main Amazon River itself! The only way to cross it is by boat. The only, and first-ever, bridge was built in 2011 in Manaus on the Rio Negro in Brazil, one Amazon’s 1,100 tributaries. Bridges are good for people and bad for the delicate ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest.
The Amazon River is home to a dolphin that blushes itself pink.
The Amazon River is a phenomenal breeding ground for countless native creatures, some of them unique. Among the most famous is the boto, the largest dolphin in the world. A highly protected species, the Pink River Dolphin, as it is more commonly known, can be found frolicking in the Amazon basins in Bolivia and Peru. On an unforgettable river expedition, you can spot botos surfacing for air in the Amazon. The boto appears light grey in color, yet when it gets excited it blushes pastel pink. As they age, their skin becomes more transparent, allowing blood flow to be more visible, and they become even more pink in color.
The Amazon River holds 20% of its freshwater supply.
With its tremendous volume, the Amazon River holds one-fifth of the world’s fresh water. The Amazon discharges more water into the oceans than the next 7 largest rivers.
The Amazon River and Rainforest flood annually.
The main source of water for the Amazon originates from Andean ice melt. Every year, as the ice melts, the Amazon River water levels can rise between 20-40 feet. As the river floods the rainforest, and combine with extensive rains, they create so-called “flooded forests”. During the rainy season, the river can quadruple in width. Bring your rubber boots!
Amazon Flora and Fauna
The abundance of wilderness in the world’s largest rainforest is what makes the Amazon such an adventure expedition hot-spot, as well as a desired family vacation destination.
The Amazon River & Rainforest are home to an amazing 30% of our planet’s flora and fauna.
- 4,000 species of birds, including 120 kinds of hummingbirds
- 2,000 species of fish, more than those in the Atlantic Ocean
- 400 species of both mammals, reptiles, and amphibians
- 7500 species of butterflies, and 2.5 million insects
- 40,000 species of flora
More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced by the incredible amount of flora in the Amazon Rainforest. it is often called the “Lungs of the World”. The Amazon Rainforest is the largest forest in the world. Rainforests are one of Earth’s oldest continuous ecosystems and play a significant part in the health of our global environment by digesting and converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. The health of the world relies on the health of the Amazon.
No wonder the Amazon is known as the greatest expression of life on Earth!