Researchers say they have located a new source for the Amazon River and possibly adding an additional 47-57 miles to its overall length, which already extends beyond 4000 miles. But, with all things exploration related in the 21st century, there is some controversy as to whether or not this new location should actually be considered as a tributary for the longest river on the planet.
Since 1971, the Apurimac River has been considered the furthest source of the Amazon, and many explorers and adventurers have operated in the region under that assumption. According to this new report however, the Mantaro River, located in southwest Peru, now holds that distinction.
The researchers who have asserted that the Mantaro is the new source used satellite imagery and topographic maps to study the Amazon and it’s numerous tributaries. With GPS tracking points, the team determined that the Mantaro is actually about 10% longer than the Apurimac, which would make the furthest source.
But as I mentioned, there is some controversy afoot. The Mantaro doesn’t flow for parts of the year, thanks to a dam that was built in 1974. When defining a “source,” most geographers feel that a river must flow uninterrupted. The researchers behind this new finding say that the Mantaro would flow all year if it wasn’t for the dam.
Does it really matter where the true source is located? Most would probably say no. But if you’re one of the many adventurers who has attempted to travel the length of the river, or explored the Amazon Basin, it means quite a lot. This revelation could invalidate certain past expeditions that paddled the entire river for instance.
Personally, I happen to enjoy that we’re still discovering things about our own planet. It is stories like this one that remind us that exploration is important, even in the 21st century. Now, who wants to be the first to go upstream and actually visit the source? I’m in!
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