Characteristics of the Amazon river basin

The hydrographic basin is considered in Brazil a planning unit composed of an interrelated drainage system and delimited by a topographic divider, which is the separation line that divides the precipitations that fall into neighboring watersheds. The hydrographic basin (BH) has a main river, which usually gives name to the watershed. The main river of the Amazon BH is the Amazon River.

Representation of a watershed. Source: UFRGS

Brazil, due to its large territorial extension, humid climate and rainfall regime, has an extensive and dense hydrographic network in all regions of the country. These characteristics contributed to the process of occupation of the territory in a period where there were no roads or air transport.

Amazon Basin is considered by geographers and researchers in the area as the largest watershed in the world, having one of the largest water potentials on the planet. Most of it is located in Brazil and in seven other countries in South America, being:

  1. Colombia
  2. Bolivia
  3. Guiana,
  4. French Guiana
  5. Suriname
  6. Peru,
  7. Venezuela.

Main features of the Amazon Basin

The Amazon basin has an area of approximately seven million square kilometers. It is the basin that holds the largest volume of fresh water available on the planet, being composed of the largest river in the world, the Amazon. It is estimated that the volume of water passing through amazonian rivers represents about 20% of the earth’s liquid fresh water.

The Amazon River is considered the most extensive river, about 6992 km long, with a water volume of approximately 210,000 cubic meters, dumping about 30 tons of sediment into the Atlantic Ocean every second. It is estimated that the flow of the Amazon River represents about 18% of the fresh water that all the rivers on the planet throw into the ocean. The tributaries are mostly born on the Guyana plateau and the Central plateau.

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