FEB 02, 2017 08:45 AM PST

Amazing Amazon Facts

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Did you know that the Amazon River is responsible for 25% of the water flowing into the world's oceans? When all that river gets released into the ocean at the river's delta, it creates a plume of unique salinity and nutrient rich water that is a noticeably different color. That plume reaches as far as 320 km from the delta itself! As the second longest river in the world (6,400 km), perhaps that doesn't come as much of a surprise. But what about its 1,100 tributaries, seventeen of which are longer than 1,000 miles? Or that it has the greatest volume of all rivers?

The Amazon River now flows eastward, however it used to flow in the reverse direction, westward. The change was spurred due to the rise of the Andes mountain range. Within its catchment zone, known for being the most biodiverse region in the world, the rain forests supports 16,000 different species of trees. And those are just the ones humans have discovered!

Another amazing Amazon fact is its flood cycle, which changes the normal width of the river, ranging from 1 to 6 miles wide in some places, to over 32 km in some places! Within all these waters live over 3,000 known species of fish (although there are likely very many more). Anacondas and piranhas also lurk in the shallows of the river, so watch out swimmers!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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