Massive River Found Flowing Beneath the Amazon

Category: Science / Aug 29, 2011 12:04PM EDT
Scientists have found a gigantic underground river flowing thousands of feet below the world's second longest river, The Amazon. Researchers at the department of geophysics of the Brazil National Observatory have showed evidence of the existence of an underground river that flows 13,000 feet beneath the Amazon. The body of water has been named after Valiya Hamza, who led the research and found that the Amazon rainforest has two separate drainage systems: the surface drainage through the Amazon and the flow of groundwater through deep sedimentary layers. The width of the Hamza is said to be 6,000 kilometers long, flowing 13,000 feet below the Amazon. Both rivers flow from west to east. The Amazon ranges from 1 kilometer to 100 kilometers in width, while Hamza ranges from 200 kilometers to 400 kilometers, however the Hamza flows at only a fraction of the speed of Amazon. According to the BBC, an underground river of this scale would be the longest of its kind in the world by far. A Brazilian expert said the groundwater is known to be very salty, which may explain the low level of salinity in the waters around the mouth of the Amazon. The latest findings are based on data analysis of 241 wells drilled in the 1970s and 1980s by a petrochemical company in the Amazon region. Based on temperature changes measured in the wells, scientists could predict the presence of an underwater river. Hamza said that the studies are still at an early stage. He hopes that he'll be able to confirm the subterranean flow of water by the end of 2014.