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The Expedition to the Sources of the Amazon River

UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY

The Expedition to the Sources of the Amazon River
The Expedition to the Sources of the Amazon River
The Expedition to the Sources of the Amazon River
The Expedition to the Sources of the Amazon River
The Expedition to the Sources of the Amazon River
The Expedition to the Sources of the Amazon River
The Expedition to the Sources of the Amazon River
The Expedition to the Sources of the Amazon River
The Expedition to the Sources of the Amazon River

UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY

The expedition participated by the Pole, Piotr Chmielewski, the first man to canoe down all the Amazon River, sought the source, on the other hand, in Apacheta stream. It was also recognized as the beginning of the Amazon River by Jacek Palkiewicz’s expedition in 1996.

It is even more difficult to specify exactly the source of the river due to the large number of small streams and torrents in the source area of the Amazon River. They flow at different heights, differ very slightly with the length, some of them flow under the ground or freeze periodically. How is it possible to state inarguably whether the ice frozen on the rock is still a stream or not?

In 2000 an international expedition under the patronage of National Geographic Society set out to the Andes. The subject of this expedition was collecting precise data which were to let determine the sources of the Amazon River. Andrzej Piętowski was the leader of the team. I have been asked to take part in this undertaking.

We were equipped with GPSs for taking field measurements, the results of the measurements were to be overlapped on the satellite pictures and they were meant to help in creating a three dimensional map of the source area of the Amazon River. The expedition team consisted of the Polish, Americans, Peruvians and Canadians.

Working at the altitude of 5000-6000 m ASL we were collecting precise data. Day by day, these arduous works were bringing a result – the map of the Amazon sources was emerging. It was the scientists’ share to process this information. On that basis “National Geographic” magazine considered Mismi mountain, which gives the beginning to Carhuasanta Stream, as the source of the Amazon River. This stream turned out to be longer than Apacheta Stream. In this way the Amazon River gained another 10 km of length.

The dispute about the beginning of the longest river in the world has not been eventually resolved. Recently, the Geographical Society in Lima admitted the Brazilian scientists from the National Institute for Space Research in Sao José dos Campos, who, after several years of taking measurements and studying the condition of the waters, stated that it was Apacheta Stream that was the source of the Amazon River. The results of their study comply with Jacek Pałkiewicz and Piotr Chmielewski’s theory.

Regardless of these discrepancies the Amazon River has been considered the longest river in the world. For me, personally, it is not so much important where the river takes its beginning. I believe it is born just on a spacious source area. What was important was asking the question and attempting to find the answer.