Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest, also known as Amazonia or Amazon, is a moist broad leaf forest that covers most of the Amazon River basin of South America. The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests, and it comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world. As the largest tract of tropical rainforest in the Americas, the Amazon rainforests have unparalleled biodiversity. One in ten known species in the world live in the Amazon Rainforest. This constitutes the largest collection of living plants and animal species in the world.

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The Amazon River is the largest river basin in the world. It’s about 4,195 miles long covering an area of 2,700,000 sq. miles including its 15,000 tributaries. Its mouth is more than 250 miles long. Its width ranges from one to 35 miles. Its depth is over 150 feet and near the mouth goes up to 300 feet. It produces about 20% of all the water that the world’s rivers pour into the ocean on its own and discharges around 40,000 gallons of water per second in the Atlantic ocean- near Belém. It provides 24,000 km of “trunk” waterway. Ocean ships can penetrate up a distance equivalent to crossing the North Atlantic, usually going to Manaus in the centre of the region.

During the high water season, the river’s mouth may be 300 miles wide for reference, the Amazon’s daily freshwater discharge into the Atlantic is enough to supply New York City’s freshwater needs for nine years. The force of the current — from sheer water volume alone — causes Amazon River water to continue flowing 125 miles out to sea before mixing with Atlantic salt water. The river current carries tons of suspended sediment all the way from the Andes and gives the river a characteristic muddy whitewater appearance. It is calculated that 106 million cubic feet of suspended sediment are swept into the Atlantic ocean each day. The result from the silt deposited at the mouth of the Amazon is Marajó Island, a river island about the size of Switzerland.

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