Tag Archives: Amazon River

The Sheer Size of the Amazon

20 Sep

I’m currently reading Amazon Watershed by George Monbiot. A truly revelatory book I will talk more about once I’ve finished reading it. Before that though I wanted to share a few paragraphs from it which really illustrate its sheer size:

“In the far north-west of Brazil [there is] a tributary [of the Amazon] called the Rio Tiquié, which is a little longer than the River Thames, but narrower in the lower reaches.

The Tiquié flows into the Uaupés, an unremarkable Amazonian river of around three times the length of the Thames. The Uaupés is itself a tributary of the Rio Negro, a tributary of the Amazon. The Rio Negro is the second largest river in the world, with a discharge slightly greater than that of the Mississippi, or greater than all the rivers of Europe combined. When it reaches the main river, having travelled 2400 kilometres from Colombia, the Negro, impressive as it is, adds only 15 per cent to the Amazon’s volume.

During the wet season as much as one fifth of the world’s freshwater may be flowing through the Amazon. Eight hundred kilometres inland it is as wide as the English Channel. In the river’s mouth there is an island larger than Denmark, or twice the size of New Hampshire; and the river’s discharge is visible 300 kilometres out to sea. The Rio Tiquié, a tributary of a tributary of a tributary of the River Amazon, is called a stream by some of the people living there.”

So, pretty big then!