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Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depend, have become universal garbage cans.
Jacques Cousteau

The Amazon is the greatest of rivers in the greatest and richest rain forest on earth. It is not just the largest river, it is bigger than the next six combined. It has been likened to a "sea" of moving freshwater. Arising in the Andes Mountains of Peru, it quickly slices through mountain to lowland jungle as the Ucayali River, to a grand junction with the Maranon River near the bawdy, upriver port of Iquitos. Henceforth begins the aortic presence of the mighty Amazon, loaded with silt, mystery, and myth.

Numbers and comparisons may lend perspective. The river is 200 miles wide at its mouth and could fill Lake Ontario, a "great" lake, in 3 hours. An island larger than Switzerland divides the outflow, which is greater than 16 Nile Rivers. There are 10 tributaries bigger than the mighty Mississippi, and more than a thousand tributaries in all. The frest water of the Amazon protrudes 60 miles into the Atlantic before finally surrendering to the salty sea.

This colossal network of rivers, creeks, and swamps drains a basin nearly as large as the contiguous United States. This is Amazonia, spanning nine nations in the north of South America. It is the largest intact rain forest in the world, harboring a bewildering array of plants and animals, the greatest biodiversity on earth.

© Danny Kimberlin 2015