This blog isn’t only about the economic progression of Brazil, or the beauties with carnival, it’s also to show the world the beauty of the country itself, it’s splendid nature (what’s left of it) and a glimpse of the people living within its boundaries.
In previous articles I have already said that the very best way to see the beauty of the country and its progress is visiting the fabulous photo blog “Olhar sobre o Mundo” (Looking at the World) of the journal Estado de São Paulo.
From the article on this blog “O Rio Amazonas”, you will see here the photo series and the freely in English translated text, to which I added some extra information about the Amazon River. This extra information I placed between the photos and took from the website “Extreme Science”.
In the most remote villages in southern Peru, the Quechua, descendants of the Incas, often refer to the Amazon river as the “God who speaks”, because of the roar of its waters in the canyons and gorges. The river which rises in Cordilheira dos Andes and empties into the Golf of Marajó, which borders the coasts of the Brazilian states of Amapá and Pará, has the highest water discharge in volume and expense of the world and represents 16% of the planet’s fresh water reserves.
The traditional image of the muddy course that winds the green of the forest is only a picture of a river with many faces. It rises crystalline in the Andes, flows down blue through the brown deserted plateau, changes to green through the cliffs in the beginning of the jungle, still in the Peruvian woods it adopts a yellowish tint and cuts down the Amazon Forest as a vast carpet of chocolate. It is a giant that defies science. Even with Google Earth, the Amazon has areas on maps unknown to the governments and armies of Peru, Colombia and Brazil, countries bordering its waters.
On World Water Day, the Estado do São Paulo published the story of the expedition from the rise to the mouth of the Amazon river by its reporter Leonencio Nossa and its photographer Celso Junior – the material is collected in the book “O Rio” to be launched by Editora Record in April. In eight trips, they travelled 10,000 kilometres on foot, horseback, raft and rowing and motor boats to make a profile of the Amazon and record life in the villages and towns along its banks. The river is 7,000 km long, but the team repeated stretches and included lakes and tributaries in the course that help to understand the dynamics and complexity of the formation of the Amazon and its basin of 6.8 million square kilometres.
The following text I took, as said, from the Extreme Science website.
The Amazon is the greatest river in the world by so many measures; the volume of water it carries to the sea (approximately 20% of all the freshwater discharge into the oceans), the area of land that drains into it, and its length and width. It is one of the longest rivers in the world and, depending upon who you talk to, is anywhere between 6,259km/3,903mi and 6,712km/4,195mi long.
For the last century the length of the Amazon and the Nile Rivers have been in a tight battle for title of world’s longest river. The exact length of the two rivers varies over time and reputable sources disagree as to their actual length. The Nile River in Africa is reported to be anywhere from at 5,499km/3,437mi to 6,690km/4,180mi long. But there is no question as to which of the two great rivers carries the greater volume of water – the Amazon River.
At its widest point the Amazon River can be 11km/6.8 mi wide during the dry season. The area covered by the Amazon River and its tributaries more than triples over the course of a year. In an average dry season 110,000 square km of land are water-covered, while in the wet season the flooded area of the Amazon Basin rises to 350,000 square km. When the flood plains and the Amazon River Basin flood during the rainy season the Amazon River can be up to 40km/24.8 mi wide. Where the Amazon opens at its estuary the river is over 325km/202 mi wide!
Because the Amazon drains the entire Northern half of the South American continent (approx. 40% landmass), including all the torrential tropical rains that deluge the rainforests, it carries an enormous amount of water. The mouth of the Amazon River, where it meets the sea, is so wide and deep that ocean-going ships have navigated its waters and traveled as far inland as two-thirds the way up the entire length of the river.
The Amazon – Home of Extremes
The Amazon River is not only the greatest in the world, it is home to many other “Extremes” Arapaima is one of the largest freshwater fish in the worldof the natural world. Have you ever seen a catfish? They’re usually found in warm, slow moving waters of lakes and streams, and some people keep them as pets in aquariums. Catfish are pretty creepy looking fish with big flat heads and “whiskers” on either side of their heads (hence the name, catfish). Most catfish that we’re familiar with here in the U.S. are anywhere from eight inches long to about five feet, weighing in at up to 60 pounds.
But the catfish that live in the world’s greatest river have all the room in the world to grow as big as nature will allow – they have been captured weighing over 200 pounds! One of the largest freshwater fish in the world is found living in the waters of the Amazon River. Arapaima, also known locally as Pirarucu, Arapaima gigas are the largest, exclusively fresh water fish in the world. They have been found to reach a length of 15 ft/4m and can weigh up to 440lbs/200kg. (Read about the biggest freshwater fish in the world.)
The Amazon is also home to some other extreme creatures, featured in “Extreme Science”; the Anaconda (biggest snake), and Piranha (most ferocious).
Amazon River Facts
So, how did the Amazon get to be so big? The first reason has to do with its location – right at the equator. Around the “belt line” of the earth lies a warm, tropical zone where over 400 in/1016cm of rain fall every year. That averages out to more than an inch (3cm) of rain, everyday! A lot of water falls onto the land surrounding the river, what is called the “Amazon River drainage basin”.
A good way to understand what a drainage basin is to think of the whole northern half of the continent of South America as a shallow dish, or saucer. Whenever rain falls and lands anywhere in the river basin it all runs into the lowest place in the pan, which happens to be the Amazon River. The sheer volume of rain in the Amazon jungle, as well as the slope of the surrounding land, combine to create the enormous river known as the Amazon.
Note: I took the text and all the photos from a beautiful photo-blog. The blog “Olhar sobre o Mundo” (Looking at the World) is a place of photo reports, essays and visual chronicles. Pure photojournalism. The blog is edited by the photo team of the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo and the pictures are sourced from photojournalists from the Grupo Estado and international agencies. The publishing model is partly inspired by the Big Picture of The Boston Globe, but, of course, the flavouring has many ingredients genuinely Brazilian.
The first part of the text, I used as basis for this article, was written by Leonencio Nossa (freely translated by me). All the photos are by Celso Junior, both from O Estado de S. Paulo.
The blog “Olhar sobre o Mundo” is certainly worth a frequent visit. They have a lot of beautiful photo reports.