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This Boiling Amazonian River Is One Of Science’s Greatest Mysteries

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Deep in the jungles of the Amazon, there is a river that is shrouded in mystery. National Geographic explorer and geothermal scientist Andrés Ruzo grew up in Peru with the stories about this enigmatic river with waters that boil extremely hot it can burn men alive.

When Ruzo studied geothermal energy, he remembered the childhood stories about the river that his grandfather told him and decided to go look for it. And he actually found the legendary location.

Boiling waters are not a new thing on our planet. Natural wonders like hot springs and rivers can be found anywhere, but mostly, these rivers are located near volcanoes. But the mysterious thing about this Amazonian river is that there is no nearby active volcano that can contribute to the scalding hot temperatures of its waters.

National Geographic explorer/photographer Devlin Gandy captures the Boiling River’s surface, which is covered in steam.

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Source: Devlin Gandy
Locals call the river “Shanay-timpishka,” which somewhat translates to “Boiled with the Heat of the Sun.”

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Source: Devlin Gandy

Locals in the area also believe that the river is hot because of the giant serpent spirit called Yacumama, which gave birth to the hot and cold waters in the Amazon.

The large thermal river has hot water flowing for more than six kilometers.

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Source: Devlin Gandy
It is estimated to be the size of a two-lane road and has a depth of about 16 feet.

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Source: Devlin Gandy
Ruzo discovered that the water didn’t have a 100 degrees Celsius boiling temperature, but only 86 degrees Celsius, which is close enough.

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Source: Devlin Gandy
There’s no active volcano nearby; in fact, the nearest volcano in the area is more than 700 kilometers away

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Source: Devlin Gandy
The river has also claimed animal lives after they fell into it.

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Source: Devlin Gandy

Despite the mysterious nature of this Amazonian river, it remains unnoticed by many experts.
The river is protected by a shaman and Ruzo had to get his permission to study it. Speaking at the TED Talk, Ruzo shared:

“I had received the shaman’s blessing to study the river, on the condition that after I take the water samples and analyze them in my lab, wherever I was in the world, that I pour the waters back into the ground so that, as the shaman said, the waters could find their way back home.”

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Source: Sofia Ruzo

Ruzo has written a book about the strange river, titled “The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon.” He is working with microbial ecologists to find out what kind of organisms can survive the harsh waters.

Even if the Boiling River is a hidden natural wonder, it still faces threats, mainly deforestation.

Ruzo believes that with continuous deforestation activities, the river could vanish completely.

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Source: Devlin Gandy

The Boiling River Project was set up to bring public attention to this natural wonder, with the goal of having the river declared as a national monument of Peru. Ruzo hopes that the remaining jungles surrounding the river will be used exclusively for scientific and conservation purposes.

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