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Amazon River( Click the map to enlarge it! )

Amazon River

Amazon River

The Amazon River in South America is the second longest in the world and by far the largest by waterflow with an average discharge greater than the next seven largest rivers combined (not including Madeira and Rio Negro, which are tributaries of the Amazon). The Amazon, which has the largest drainage basin in the world, about 7,050,000 square kilometres (2,720,000 sq mi), accounts for approximately one-fifth of the world's total river flow

Amazon River Map

In its upper stretches, above the confluence of the Negro River, the Amazon is called Solim?es in Brazil; however, in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, as well as the rest of the Spanish-speaking world, the river is generally called the Amazon downstream from the confluence of the Maranon and Ucayali rivers in Peru. The Ucayali-Apurimac river system is considered the main source of the Amazon.

Amazon River

Amazon River

The width of the Amazon varies between 1.6 and 10 kilometres (1.0 and 6.2 mi) at low stage, but expands during the wet season to 48 kilometres (30 mi) or more. The river enters the Atlantic Ocean in a broad estuary about 240 kilometres (150 mi) wide. The mouth of the main stem is 80 kilometres (50 mi). Because of its vast dimensions, it is sometimes called The River Sea. The first bridge in the Amazon river system (over the Rio Negro) opened on October 10 2010. It is just outside Manaus.

Drainage area

The Amazon Basin, the largest in the world, covers about 30% of South America, an area of approximately 7,050,000 square kilometres (2,720,000 sq mi). It flows from west to east from Iquitos in Peru to all the way across Brazil to the Atlantic. It gathers its waters from 5 degrees north latitude to 20 degrees south latitude. Its most remote sources are found on the inter-Andean plateau, just a short distance from the Pacific Ocean.

The Amazon River and its tributaries are characterized by extensive forested areas that become flooded every rainy season. Every year the river rises more than 9 metres (30 ft), flooding the surrounding forests, known as varzea ("flooded forests"). The Amazon's flooded forests are the most extensive example of this habitat type in the world. In an average dry season, 110,000 square kilometres (42,000 sq mi) of land are water-covered, while in the wet season, the flooded area of the Amazon Basin rises to 350,000 square kilometres (140,000 sq mi).

Pink Dolphin in Amazon River

Pink Dolphin in Amazon River

The quantity of water released by the Amazon to the Atlantic Ocean is enormous: up to 300,000 cubic metres per second (11,000,000 cu ft/s) in the rainy season, with an average of 209,000 cubic metres per second (7,400,000 cu ft/s) from 1973 to 1990. The Amazon is responsible for about 20% of the Earth's fresh water entering the ocean.The river pushes a vast plume of fresh water into the ocean. The plume is about 400 kilometres (250 mi) long and between 100 and 200 kilometres (62 and 120 mi) wide. The fresh water, being lighter, overrides the salty ocean, diluting the salinity and altering the color of the ocean surface over an area up to 1,000,000 square miles (2,600,000 km2) large. For centuries ships have reported fresh water near the Amazon's mouth yet well out of sight of land in what otherwise seemed to be the open ocean.

Links:Amazon River Ecosystem