Facts about the River Amazon

Amazonia, (photo by Apa Cartography Dept.)

Learn more about the River Amazon with these fun facts:

  • The official source of the Amazon, found in 1953, is on Mount Huagra in the Peruvian Andes. 
  • The river is 6,570km (4,080 miles) long (only the Nile is longer) and its mouth is 330km (200 miles) wide. 
  • The Amazon has 1,100 tributaries, including 17 that are more than 1,600km (1,000 miles) long. 
  • In places, the Amazon is 110km (68 miles) wide; its lower course has depths of over 60 meters (297ft). Ocean-going freighters can travel 3,720km (2,310 miles) inland from the Atlantic to Iquitos, Peru. 
  • The river system is the globe’s largest body of fresh water. Total water flow is 160,000–200,000 cubic meters (42–53 million US gallons) a second, 12 times that of the Mississippi. 
  • The Amazon basin is larger than that of any other river, and contains the world’s largest, but rapidly diminishing, rainforest. This spreads over nine countries, but most of it lies within the boundaries of Brazil. 
  • Amazonia supports 30 percent of all known plant and animal species, including 2,500 fish species, 50,000 higher plant species, and untold millions of insects. 
  • The average annual rainfall is over 2,000mm (79 inches), making the Amazon basin the wettest region in the world.  

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