The Amazon is the region formed for the basin of
the Amazon River and covered by the Amazonian Forest. It is the biggest
equatorial forest of the world. The Great Amazon encloses nine countries of
South America and an area of 7,5 million km². The Brazilian area represents 66%
of this total. The Amazon River, alone, represents about 17% of all the liquid
water of the world. It drains one-third of South America.
When the European pioneers arrived in the Amazon,
in the 16th century, it was inhabited for a great population of aboriginals. In
the beginning of the 20th century, it started a wild deforestation and, today,
the ecological balance of the whole Amazon is at risk.
Copyright © Geographic Guide - Travel.
This image was acquired on July 23, 2000.
Close to the city of Manaus (capital of the
Amazonas State), Brazil, the Rio Solimoes and the Rio Negro converge
to form the Amazon River. Manaus is the gray patch to the right of image center.
The pale, murky color of the Rio Solimões heralds its burden of glacial silt and
sand, which results from its origin in the Peruvian Andes mountains. The dark
color of the Rio Negro is characteristic of clear waters that originate in areas
of basement rock and carry little sediment. East of Manaus the pale and dark
waters flow side-by-side as distinct flows before they eventually merge.
Northwest of Manaus on the Rio Negro is the Anavilhanas Archipelago, the largest
group of freshwater islands in the world and a wildlife reserve. At the top of
the image, a portion of the dark-colored Uatuma River is visible. In the lower
right is the very light-colored Rio Madeira, formed from mountain streams
originating near the Brazil-Bolivia border. Madeira is Portuguese for wood, and
the river is named for the large amount of driftwood that floats on its waters
Image base (edited): IBGE, Marinha do
Brasil, NASA and USGS.
Marajó island in the mouth of the Amazon
River (satellite images from NASA).