What is The Amazon Basin? How Long is the Amazon River? Amazon basin, the drainage basin of the Amazon River that covers about 34 percent of the land of South America (about 6,100,000 square km [roughly 2,300,000 square miles]) and is located in the center and eastern portions of the continent.
The Amazon basin is the largest drainage basin in the world, more than twice as large as that of the Congo River in Africa. Approximately one-fifth of all freshwater runoff on Earth passes through this watershed. The Amazon basin includes roughly 60 percent of the world’s rainforest and harbors 10 percent of the planet’s known forms of life—including more than 40,000 plant species, 1,300 bird species, and several million species of insects and other invertebrates.
What is The Amazon Basin?
The Amazon River is an interesting spot to study. Many scientists do extensive research on this river because it has amazing hidden secrets. The Amazon river is located in the north of South America. The origin of the Amazon river is in the Andes mountain in Peru. The Amazon river travels through Ecuador, Suriname, Guiana, Brazil, Columbia, Venezuela, and Bolivia. The river empties into the Atlantic ocean on the northeastern coast of Brazil.
The river basin is a part of the land covered by a river and its tributaries. The amazon river basin is the area drained by the amazon river and its tributaries. The amazon river basin covers an area of 2.7 million square miles. The amazon river basin takes over the eastern and central area of south America spanning from the north of the Guyana Plateau to the south of the Brazilian Plateau.
The Amazon is characterized by being highly biodiverse as it houses the tropical rainforest. 10% of the biodiversity in the world is found in the Amazon river. The Amazon river basin encompasses up to three million species and up to 200,000 plant species. There are numerous vibrant flora and fauna inhabiting the amazon river basin.
The plants (flora) and animals (fauna) are extremely diverse. In regards to plants, palms are dominant in the Amazon rainforests. Some kinds of palm form a canopy that reaches 20 meters in height. The canopy is so heavy that it may block the sunlight from reaching the bottom of the forest. The bottom of the rainforest is less diverse than the canopy and this is because the amount of light reaching it is relatively low. The tallest tree found there is the tree species Dinizia excelsa which reaches over 290 feet.
Some examples of plants are found in the Amazon river basin.
- Giant Water Lily (Victoria Lily).
- Venus flytraps.
- Theobroma cacao.
- Tropical fruit trees.
- Rubber trees.
- Heliconia latispatha.
- Passiflora edulis.
- Coffea arabica.
- Combretum rotundifolium.
The warm climate of the river basin makes it an excellent home for amphibians and reptiles. Almost every section of the forest has a variety of frogs, snakes, salamanders, and lizards. The Amazon region is home to approximately 16 monkey species, up to 600 bird species, and countless other nearly extinct species. Insects and monkeys dominate the amazon rainforest.
It is home to the following list of animals
- Harpy eagles
- Pink river dolphins
- Black spider monkeys
- Poison dart frogs
How Long is the Amazon River?
The length of the amazon river is 6,400 km which is equal to 4,000 miles. The first one who discovered the Amazon was a Spanish soldier called Francisco de Orellana in 1541. The Amazon river is considered one of the longest rivers in the world. Some claim it is the first longest river, while others claim it is the second-longest river in the world. The Amazon’s depth ranges from 20 to 50 meters below sea level, with some areas reaching 100 meters.
Amazon river has a warm, wet, and humid climate with an average temperature of approximately 25 degrees Celsius all year. The duration of day and night are equal. and it rains every day. The gap between daylight and nighttime temperatures is bigger than the difference between the hottest and coldest months. There are two seasons:
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- Wet season: The months with the heaviest rains in the Amazon river basin are from September to May.
- Dry or less wet season: During the dry season, midday temperatures can exceed 40 °C. This period runs from June to August.
The history of the Amazon Rainforest
At one time Amazon River flowed westward, perhaps as part of a proto-Congo river system from the interior of present day Africa when the continents were joined as part of Gondwana. Fifteen million years ago, the Andes were formed by the collision of the South American plate with the Nazca plate.
The rise of the Andes and the linkage of the Brazilian and Guyana bedrock shields, blocked the river and caused the Amazon to become a vast inland sea. Gradually this inland sea became a massive swampy, freshwater lake and the marine inhabitants adapted to life in freshwater. For example, over 20 species of stingray, most closely related to those found in the Pacific Ocean, can be found today in the freshwaters of the Amazon.
About ten million years ago, waters worked through the sandstone to the west and the Amazon began to flow eastward. At this time the Amazon rainforest was born. During the Ice Age, sea levels dropped and the great Amazon lake rapidly drained and became a river. Three million years later, the ocean level receded enough to expose the Central American isthmus and allow mass migration of mammal species between the Americas.
The Ice Ages caused tropical rainforest around the world to retreat. Although debated, it is believed that much of the Amazon reverted to savanna and montane forest (see Ice Ages and Glaciation). Savanna divided patches of rainforest into “islands” and separated existing species for periods long enough to allow genetic differentiation (a similar rainforest retreat took place in Africa.
Delta core samples suggest that even the mighty Congo watershed was void of rainforest at this time). When the ice ages ended, the forest was again joined and the species that were once one had diverged significantly enough to be constitute designation as separate species, adding to the tremendous diversity of the region. About 6000 years ago, sea levels rose about 130 meters, once again causing the river to be inundated like a long, giant freshwater lake.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the Amazon basin?
The amazon river basin takes over the eastern and central area of south America spanning from the north of the Guyana Plateau to the south of the Brazilian Plateau.
The Amazon basin found in Ecuador, Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, Columbia, Venezuela, and Bolivia.
What is the basin of the Amazon River?
The river basin is a part of the land covered by a river and its tributaries. The amazon river basin is the area drained by the amazon river and its tributaries. The amazon river basin covers an area of 2.7 million square miles.
What is so significant about the Amazon River basin?
The climate in the Amazon river basin makes it an ideal home to up to three million kinds of animals and up to 200,000 plant species. There are tens of thousands of insect species in the Amazon River Basin.
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