Saturday, January 10, 2009


Mouths of Amazon River in Brazil
Satellite image
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wonderful and challenging. Natives who have been neglected by civilization inhabit it. The river is the only highway, and the boat is the only transportation. The State of Amazonas is not serviced by roads, only by rivers, which contain 20% of the world's fresh water supply. This is also where over 1000 tributaries come together to form the Amazon River.
(Copyright © 2004-2007 Amazon Mission Trip)

Map of the Amazon River drainage basin
Author Kmusser
Digital Chart of the World and GTOPO data
September 8, 2008
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pará River and city of Belém, Brazil
November 6th, 20081
Earth Snapshot Copyright © 2009 Chelys srl

In this image we can see the mouth of the Pará River in Brazil, part of the greater Amazon River system. The river is separated from the larger part of the Amazon delta by Ilha de Marajó (Marajo Island).
This region has an equatorial climate, a type of tropical climate in which there is no dry season. All months have mean precipitation values of at least 60 mm.
In the image, we can see sediments flowing from the river, perhaps dredged up by such rainfall or by the slash and burn treatment of tropical rainforests further upstream.
East of the rivermouth is the city of Belém, on the banks of the Amazon estuary, in the northern part of Brazil. It is the capital of the state of Pará.
Belem lies about 60 miles upriver from the Atlantic Ocean. It is the entrance gate to the Amazon with a busy port, airport and coach station.

The Amazon basin
Tthe largest drainage basin in the world
Earth Snapshot Copyright © 2009 Chelys srl

The Amazon basin, the largest drainage basin in the world, covers some 40 percent of South America, an area of approximately 6,915,000 square kilometres (2,670,000 sq mi).The quantity of water released by the Amazon to the Atlantic Ocean is enormous: up to 300,000 m³ per second in the rainy season. The Amazon is responsible for a fifth of the total volume of fresh water entering the oceans worldwide. Offshore of the mouth of the Amazon, potable water can be drawn from the ocean while still out of sight of the coastline, and the salinity of the ocean is notably lower five hundred kilometres out to sea.
The "Meeting of Waters" is the confluence of the Rio Negro (black) and the Rio Solimões (sandy) near Manaus, Brazil.The Upper Amazon has a series of major river systems in Peru and Ecuador, some of which flow into the Marañón and others directly into the Amazon proper. Among others, these include the following rivers: Morona, Pastaza, Nucuray, Urituyacu, Chambira, Tigre, Nanay, Napo, Huallaga, and Ucayali. The headstreams of the Marañón—which for many years had been seen as the origin of the Amazon—flow from high above central Peru's Lake Lauricocha, from the glaciers in what is known as the Nevado de Yarupa. Rushing through waterfalls and gorges in an area of the high jungle called the pongos, the Marañón River flows about 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) from west-central to northeast Peru before it combines with the Ucayali River, just below the provincial town of Nauta, to form the Amazon River.
The most distant source of the Amazon was firmly established in 1996, 2001 and 2007 as a glacial stream on a snowcapped 5,597 m (18,363 ft) peak called Nevado Mismi in the Peruvian Andes, roughly 160 km (100 mi) west of Lake Titicaca and 700 km (430 mi) southeast of Lima. The average depth of the river in the height of the rainy season is 40 m (131 ft) and the average width can be nearly 40 km (25 mi). It starts to rise in November, and increases in volume until June, then falls until the end of October. The rise of the Negro branch is not synchronous; the rainy season does not commence in its valley until February or March. By June it is full, and then it begins to fall with the Amazon. The Madeira rises and falls two months earlier than the Amazon. The Amazon estuary is some 330 kilometres (210 mi) wide. The width of the mouth of the river is usually measured from Cabo do Norte to Punto Patijoca. But this includes the ocean outlet, 60 km (40 mi) wide, of the Para river, which should be deducted, as this stream is only the lower reach of the Tocantins. It also includes the ocean frontage of Marajó, an island lying in the mouth of the Amazon. This means that the Amazon is wider at its mouth than the entire length of the Thames in England.

Francisco de Orellana (1511-1546)
Spanish conquistador in Peru and Amazonas River
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
One of Gonzalo Pizarro's lieutenants, Francisco de Orellana, during his 1541 expedition, east of Quito into the South American interior in search of El Dorado and the Country of the Cinnamon was ordered to explore the Coca River and return when the river ended. When they arrived to the confluence to the Napo River, his men menaced to mutiny if they did not continue. On 26 December 1541, he accepted to be elected chief of the new expedition and to conquest new lands in name of the king. The 49 men began to build a bigger ship for riverine navigation. During their navigation on Napo River they were threatened constantly by the Omaguas. They reached Negro River on 3 June 1542 and finally arrived to the Amazon River, that was so named because they were attacked by fierce female warriors like the mythological Amazons. The icamiabas Indians dominated the area closed to the Amazon River, rich in gold. When Orellana went down the river in search of gold, descends Andes (in 1541), the river was still called Grande Rio, Mar Dulce or Rio da Canela (Cinnamon), because of the great trees of cinnamon located there. The belligerent victory of the icamiabas against the Spanish invaders was such that the fact was narrated to the king Carlos V, whom, inspired by the Greek Amazons, baptized the river as Amazon.

The mouth of the Rio Negro
"Meeting of Waters"
The dark Rio Negro meeting the silty Amazon River
Author Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz Mariordo
28 Oct 2006
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Village along west bank of Rio Napo in Peru
Confluence with Amazon
The land visible beyond the waterway is an island in the river
Author Tim Ross
February 2002
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Índios Caipó
Indigenous people in Brazil's Amazon valley
Source Funai/Governo Brasileiro
Author Funai
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Av. Duque de Caxias, Belém
Author Psergio
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In what is currently Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela a number of colonial and religious settlements were established along the banks of primary rivers and tributaries for the purpose of trade, slaving and evangelization among the indigenous peoples of the vast rain forest.
The total population of the Brazilian portion of the Amazon basin in 1850 was perhaps 300,000, of whom about two-thirds comprised by Europeans and slaves, the slaves amounting to about 25,000. In Brazil, the principal commercial city, Para (now Belém), had from 10,000 to 12,000 inhabitants, including slaves. The town of Manáos, now Manaus, at the mouth of the Rio Negro, had from 1,000 to 1,500 population. All the remaining villages, as far up as Tabatinga, on the Brazilian frontier of Peru, were relatively small.

Manaus downtown: Praça da Saudade, Teatro Amazonas
Background: Rio Negro
Source own work
Author user:Pontanegra
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shore and boats in Manaus
Author: Salina, Daniel
Source: Manaus, 2006
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The largest city in the Brazilian Amazon
October 17th, 2008
Earth Snapshot Copyright © 2009 Chelys srl

Close-up of the city of Manaus
October 17th, 2008
Earth Snapshot Copyright © 2009 Chelys srl

In the close-up of Manaus, we can see the city’s location on the banks of the Rio Negro (Black River, so named due to the dark color of the water). We can also see the convergence of the Rio Negro, the dark river on the left, and the Amazon River (also called Rio Solimões), the brown river running across the image.
The construction of the new capital Brasilia in the interior in 1960 also contributed to the opening up of the Amazon basin. A large scale colonization program saw families from north-eastern Brazil relocated to the forests, encouraged by promises of cheap land. Many settlements grew along the road from Brasilia to Belém, but rainforest soil proved difficult to cultivate.Still, long-term development plans continued. Roads were cut through the forests, and in 1970, the work on Trans-Amazon highway network began. The network's three pioneering highways were completed within ten years, connecting all the major cities of the Brazilian Amazon interior. While debate as to whether the Amazon or the Nile is the world's longest river has gone on for many years, the historic consensus of geographic authorities has been to regard the Amazon as the second longest river in the world, with the Nile being the longest. However, the Amazon has been measured by different geographers as being anywhere between 6,259 and 6,800 kilometres (3,889–4,225 mi) long. The Nile is reported to be anywhere from 5,499 to 6,690 kilometres (3,417–4,157 mi). The differences in these measurements often result from the use of different definitions.
A study by Brazilian scientists claimed that the Amazon is actually longer than the Nile. Using Nevado Mismi, which in 2001 was labeled by the National Geographic Society as the Amazon's source, these scientists have made new calculations of the Amazon's length. They now estimate that the Amazon is 105 kilometres (65 mi) longer than the Nile,[10] and Guido Gelli, director of science at the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), told the Brazilian TV network Globo in June 2007 that it could be considered as a fact that the Amazon was the longest river in the world. However, other geographers have had access to the same data since 2001, and a consensus has yet to emerge to support the claims of these Brazilian scientists.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


The above NASA image was created by Jesse Allen, using SRTM data provided, courtesy of the University of Maryland’s Global Land Cover Facility, and river data provided courtesy of the World Wildlife Fund HydroSHEDS Project. For clarity, the Amazon Basin and the watersheds feeding it appear bright, while the surrounding area appears darker. A white box outlines the region that the Brazilian researchers identified as the Amazon’s source; that area is enlarged in the bottom image. The larger image shows the rim of higher terrain along the western edge of the Amazon, where tributaries drain off mountain peaks in the Andes. A complicated network of riverbeds appears around Mount Mismi. According to their new estimate, the Amazon is 6,800 kilometers (4,250 miles) long. The Nile is thought to be 6,695 kilometers (4,160 miles) long. As the BBC reported, assessing the exact length of a river can be difficult, and the calculation depends partly on identifying the river’s source. Before the announcement, the Nile had been regarded as only slightly longer than the Amazon, so this new finding was not shocking, but the Amazon’s new primacy in river length could face future challenges as both rivers continue to be explored.

The Amazon River
The Amazon River facts and information

234k - Adobe PDF

Carbon Sink
CREDITS Getty Image
Copyright © 2009 Discovery Communications, LLC.
Nutrients carried by the Amazon River help create a carbon sink deep in the Atlantic Ocean. The key ingredients transported by the river are iron and phosphorus. These elements are all that an organism called a diazotroph needs to capture nitrogen and carbon from the air and transform them into organic solids that then sink to the ocean floor. Researchers from the United States, Greece and England found that the Amazon carries these elements hundreds of miles into the ocean and has an impact on the carbon and nitrogen cycles much farther afield than previously thought. It is likely that other rivers also help seed carbon sequestering in the world's oceans, wrote senior author Doug Capone of the University of Southern California.
The findings may help scientists find the best places to test seeding the ocean with iron, a controversial practice that some biologists believe could help mitigate climate change. There are concerns that iron fertilization could harm sea life and potentially lead to increased production of other greenhouse gases, Capone said.
But while iron fertilization in cooler waters could be undermined by the upward flow of water from the depths, tropical waters could keep captured carbon solids from returning to the surface, he said. "If we choose as a human society to fertilize areas of the oceans, these are the places that probably would get a lot more bang for the buck in terms of iron fertilization than we would at high latitudes," Capone said.
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
(Copyright © 2009 Discovery Communications, LLC.)
Portuguese captain Pedro de Teixeira (1587-1641) led the first full-length upstream exploration of the Amazon River in 1637. Taking almost two years to complete, the expedition covered more than 3,500 land and nautical miles (5,633 km). Teixeira's voyage was the first to systematically document the Amazon from its silt-laden outlet in Belém, northern Brazil, to the headwaters of its source in the Andes Mountains. The expedition established Portuguese dominance in the vast Amazon basin area of South America, and brought knowledge of the river that Portuguese explorers called the "Rio Mar," or river sea, to the world. Political impact of the expedition reached across Western Europe, Brazil, and the vast sought-after lands and riches of South America. The human impact of Teixeira's expedition included comprised both the Portuguese royalty (and, ultimately their subjects), as well as the indigenous peoples of South America and Africa.
(Exploring the Amazon River from Science and Its Times. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation)

Amazon River, Peru


Timeline of Amazon History:
1541- Francisco Orellana and crew explore the Amazon.
1637-1638 -Pedro Teixeira take the first voyage up the Amazon and reaches Quito.
1736- Frenchman Charles Marie de la Condamine leads a scientific expedition, opening the door for modern-day explorers.
1800’s- Alexander Von Humboldt explores the Amazon.
Mid-1800’s- John Dunlap invents the tire; rubber boom begins.
Mid-1800’s- Amazon Basin becomes important source of rubber.
1839- Charles Goodyear invents vulcanization.
1850’s- Bicycles become popular, and it uses rubber tires.
1880’s- 1890’s- Rubber barons get rich in Manaus.
1890- Electric trolleys cross Manaus’s streets. In Boston, they still use horse-and- buggy!
1900’s- Exploration is conducted by the National Geographic Society.
1910- Rubber boom ends.
1914- Explored by Theodore Roosevelt.
1960-Now-Brazil has and is building highways and airports where rainforest once was.
1980’s- Brazil starts to ensure that efforts to develop Amazonia will not hurt it.
1982- Brazil sets aside over 19 million acres aside for the Yanomami tribe.
1987- 40,000 gold seekers pour onto Yanomami lands.
1988- Chico Menedes, a leader in the fight to save the rainforest, is killed.
1995- Truck road from Manaus to Venezuela is completed.
(By Matthew P. February 4, 1998, Science C3-S at Matt's Page at

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