Underground river ‘Rio Hamza’ discovered 4km beneath the Amazon


Covering more than 7 million square kilometres in South America, the Amazon basin is one of the biggest and most impressive river systems in the world. But it turns out we have only known half the story until now.
Brazilian scientists have found a new river in the Amazon basin – around 4km underneath the Amazon river. The Rio Hamza, named after the head of the team of researchers who found the groundwater flow, appears to be as long as the Amazon river but up to hundreds of times wider.
Both the Amazon and Hamza flow from west to east and are around the same length, at 6,000km. But whereas the Amazon ranges from 1km to 100km in width, the Hamza ranges from 200km to 400km.
The underground river starts in the Acre region under the Andes and flows through the Solimões, Amazonas and Marajó basins before opening out directly into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Amazon flows much faster than the Hamza, however, draining a greater volume of water. Around 133,000m3 of water flow through the Amazon per second at speeds of up to 5 metres per second. The underground river’s flow rate has been estimated at around 3,900m3per second and it barely inches along at less than a millimetre per hour.