Amazon Rainforest facts
-The Amazon River, according to many accounts, was named by Spanish explorer Fransisco de Orellana in 1541. The name was in honor of the female warriors he encountered on his voyage through the territory previously called Maranon.
-The Amazon is simply the world's greatest bio-system. The region of Amazonia, the correct name of this area, houses the most diverse collection of flora and fauna in the world. As much as 20% of all the world's species are found in the enormous rivers and jungles of Amazonia.
-The Amazon is the greatest river in the world by so many measures; the volume of water it carries to the sea (approximately 20% of all the freshwater discharge into the oceans), the area of land that drains into it, and its length and width. It is one of the longest rivers in the world and, depending upon who you talk to, is anywhere between 6,259km/3,903mi and 6,712km/4,195mi long.
-The Amazon Forest holds some 2,500 tree species and 30,000 plant species (30 percent of all plant species.
-The mouth of the Amazon is more than 250 miles wide. The powerful discharge at the mouth of the Amazon measures about eight trillion gallons a day, 60 times that of the Nile and eleven times that of the Mississippi.
-The width of the river ranges from one mile to 35 miles.
-The Amazon River basin is about 4,195 miles long, covering about 2,720,000 square miles in area, including its 15,000 tributaries and subtributaries (four of which are in excess of 1,000 miles long). It is the largest river basin in the world.
-Average rainfall across the whole Amazon basin is approximately 2300 mm (or ~7.5') annually. In some areas of the northwest portion of the Amazon basin, yearly rainfall can exceed 6000 mm (almost 20')!
-Two of the tributaries of the Amazon, the Juruá and the Madeira Rivers, are both over 3,300 km (2,060 miles) long. About 1,100 other tributaries empty into the Amazon River.
-The width of the Amazon at Iquitos, Peru (3,600 km/2,250 miles from the ocean) is about 2 km. Ocean-going ships can easily access the Port of Iquitos at high water, as the main depth of the current-canal of the Amazon is between 40 and 50 m (or up to 150+ feet deep), and in places, over 100 m (over 300 feet) deep. Even hundreds of miles away from the ocean, sections of the bottom of the river channel actually lie below sea level!
-The Rio Negro, a tributary of the Amazon, is the second largest river in the world in terms of water discharge, and is 100 meters (over 300 feet) deep and 14 kilometers (~9 miles) wide near its mouth at Manaus, Brazil.
-The Meeting of the Waters happens just near the central city in Amazonia: Manaus. the black waters of Rio Negro join and mix with the clay-colored waters of Rio Solimoes. The effect can be brilliantly enjoyed right in front of a visitor's eyes, and happens to be one of the greatest highlights of the region.
-In the Amazon region, live the largest number of species of freshwater fish in the world, between 2,000 and 3,000. The Negro River alone has more species than all the rivers of Europe combined.
-The Amazon spans nine South American countries: Brasil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname. Sixty percent of the total lies in Brasil.
-One of the largest freshwater fish in the world is found living in the waters of the Amazon River. Arapaima gigas , also known locally as Pirarucu, Arapaima gigas are the largest, exclusively fresh water fish in the world. They have been found to reach a length of 15 ft/4m and can weigh up to 440lbs/220kg.
-The vitória-régia, considered to be one of the Amazon's symbols, is the world's largest flower. Some can measure more than 6 feet in diameter.
-The Amazon's largest animal is the manatee, which can weigh half a ton and measure almost 10 feet in length.
-The Amazon anaconda can reach 33 feet in length.
-According to the Indians, a wise person walks the earth like a bird flying across the skies - leaving no marks. This is how they have lived for centuries in the forest without harming it.
-The city of Manaus has the biggest airport in the region and serves as the base for most trips into the surrounding Amazon.
-The Amazon's fantastic size has bewildered the minds of many adventurers and explorers, giving rise to as many myths and legends, including those of giant sloth and amorous dolphins. Fantastic plans to dominate and profit from this natural wonder, from Henry Ford's attempts to tame the wild rubber trees to Brazil's Finance Minister Delfin Neto's attempts to pay off the countries' foreign debt through profit from the Amazon, have all ended in failure, and have given this mystical and
steaming green land the alternative title of "Green Hell."
Many of the above Amaz(on)ing Facts are adapted from the following: