Need proof that we still don’t know as much about our own planet as we think we do? Than look no further than this story about a team of researchers that discovered a legendary boiling river located deep in the Amazon.
In a new book entitled The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon, Peruvian scientist Andrés Ruzo shares the story of the discovery of this river, which he first heard about from his grandfather, who told him that Spanish conquistadors wandered into the jungle, and returned months later with tales of strange animals, endless rainforest, and a river that was so hot that it boiled from below.
That story stuck with Ruzo, even as an adult, and when he became a graduate student at Southern Methodists University in Texas, he decided to do his PhD project on creating the first geothermal map of Peru. He hoped to discover the boiling river, and show how it would be possible for it to actually boil from geothermal activity.
He didn’t exactly find support from the faculty and other students. Most told him his pursuit was futile and went against all of the principles of science that we knew up until this point. For a river to actually be so hot that it boiled, the forces at work underneath it would have to be tremendous.
After spending months researching the possibilities and looking for answers, Ruzo discovered an unlikely ally – his aunt. She claimed to have actually visited such a river, and told her nephew where to find it. It was located near Mayantuyacu, a site held sacred by the local people.
The river itself isn’t large. It runs for just 4 miles (6.4 km), and ranges up to 82 feet (25 meters) wide and 20 feet (6 meters) deep. It is described as being hot enough to make cup of tea, with certain sections actually boiling as described.
Now, Ruzo’s discovery is making headlines, and his theories don’t seem to absurd. He even gave an interview to Nat Geo about his research and quest to find this legendary stretch of water. Unsurprisingly, now he’s working to protect the site to ensure that it remains sacred and pure.
This story makes you wonder what other “legendary” stories that have emerged from the jungles, deserts, and mountains of the world have some basis in truth. Hopefully we’ll always have scientists and explores like Andrés to keep looking for them.
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