The lower Amazon River in Brazil -

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features an astronaut photograph of the Amazon River in Brazil. This particular stretch of river is located near the port city of Parintins.

“The river is the largest on Earth and allows seagoing ships to reach Parintins even though it is 800 kilometers (500 miles) inland from the Atlantic Ocean,” says NASA.

“Seagoing ships can progress 3,600 kilometers (2,200 miles) up the Amazon River – more than halfway across the South American continent – to the port of Iquitos in Peru.” 

The muddy color of the river is tied to the Andes Mountains, a major source of sediments and mineral nutrients. According to NASA, the sediment erodes from the Andes Mountains located to the west and is carried generally eastward toward the ocean. 

The Amazon River is renowned for its vast biodiversity. It’s home to a wide range of wildlife, including many species of fish like the piranha and the Amazonian manatee. The surrounding Amazon Rainforest is also one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.

The river plays a crucial role in regulating the local and global climate. The Amazon Rainforest, which it nourishes, is often referred to as the “Lungs of the Earth” because of its vast production of oxygen.

Numerous indigenous tribes live along the Amazon River, many of which have maintained traditional ways of life. The river has also been a focal point for explorers and scientists interested in its unique ecosystem.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Editor

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