While the Amazon Basin, which takes up more than 7 million square kilometers in South America, contains one of the largest river systems in the world, it turns out we’ve only known about half of the story of the Amazon until recently.
A new river has been discovered in the basin, about 4 kilometers underneath the Amazon River. Named the Rio Hamza, the river is about as long as the Amazon, but hundreds of times wider. Both rivers flow from west to east and are 6,000 kilometers long. However, while the Amazon is anywhere between 1 and 100 kilometers wide, the Hamza is between 200 and 400 kilometers wide. The Amazon also flows considerably faster than the Hamza, and drains a larger amount of water.
If you’re wondering how in the world scientists just now discovered an entire river, it was located using data collected in 241 deep wells that were drilled in the Amazon by Petrobras, a petrochemical company, in the 1970s. Two members of the Department of Geophysics at Brazil’s National Observatory led the work leading to the discovery and presented it at the International Congress of the Society Brasiliera Geophysical in Rio de Janeiro.
Additional measurements will be taken over the next few years to confirm additional details of the river. Sure makes you wonder what else is hidden in the Earth that we have yet to discover.