Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Amazon River

The Amazon River (Portuguese: Rio Amazonas; Spanish: Río Amazonas; pronounced /?æm?z?n/ (US); /?æm?z?n/ (UK)) of South America is the largest river in the world with a total river flow greater than the next ten largest rivers combined. The Amazon, which has the largest drainage basin in the world, accounts for approximately one-fifth of the world's total river flow.

In its upper stretches the Amazon river is called Apurímac (in Peru) and Solimões (in Brazil).

During the wet season, parts of the Amazon exceed 190 kilometres (120 mi) in width. Because of its vast dimensions, it is sometimes called The River Sea. At no point is the Amazon crossed by bridges. This is not because of its huge dimensions; in fact, for most of its length, the Amazon's width is well within the capability of modern engineers to bridge. However, the bulk of the river flows through tropical rainforest, where there are few roads and even fewer cities, so there is no need for crossings.

While the Amazon is the largest river in the world by most measures, the current consensus within the geographic community holds that the Amazon is the second longest river, just slightly shorter than the Nile. However, some scientists, particularly from Brazil and Peru, dispute this (see section below). Water testing done in 2009 by Amica Ressearch has shown the water level to be at a 7.5, one of the cleanest water sources in the world.

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