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Amazon Basin

River System

amazon basin
Amazon / Travel & Tours – The Amazon River Basin is located in the central part of the Amazon Rainforest biome, representing the largest drainage basin on Earth. It covers 7 million square kilometers in Brazil (3,8), Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia and provides about 1 / 5 of the World's fresh water demand.

This basin is limited to the north by the shield of Guianas and to the south by the shield of Guaporé (see geology). It is entirely covered by dense tropical rainforest (see vegetation)

In accordance to the color of its waters, the rivers of the Amazon basin are classified as:

Rios de Águas Claras

The "clear water rivers" descend from the plateau of Guaporé in northern direction (Xingu, Tapajós, Tocantins and Araguaia) and are relatively poor in sediments.

Rios de Águas Brancas

The "white water rivers" have their springs in the Andes (Solimões, Purus, Madeira) and carry soils which are relatively rich in sediments and nutrients. These sediments are deposited along the shore of the rivers, forming the so-called várzeas (see ecosystems).

Rios de Águas Pretas

The "black water rivers" descend from the Guianas Plateau in southern direction (Negro, Branco) and are poor in sediments.