Researchers from Brazil’s National Observatory have reportedly discovered the existence of an underground waterway flowing some 13,000 feet beneath the Amazon river.
As the second largest river in the world, the South American Amazon has the largest drainage basin in the world, approximately one-fifth of the world’s entire river flow.
The newly found river – named Rio Hamza, after Valiya Hamza, the scientist who led the research team responsible for its discovery – is said to be similar in length to the Amazon (roughly 3,720 miles long), but up to four times its width in certain spots.
Despite its similarities in size to the Amazon, the Hamza river flows at a far slower pace (3,900 cubic meters per second compared to 1,300,000 cubic meters per second) and empties into the ocean deep underground.
In addition, scientists believe that the Hamza may also be responsible for the low salinity around the mouth of the Amazon River.
According to Mr. Hamza, the information about the river originated from the 241 inactive oil wells that were drilled by the Brazilian oil company Petrobras in the 1970s. The company provided the researchers “thermal information,” which allowed them to identify the movement of water deep below the Amazon.
Hamza has stated that the studies are still in their preliminary stage but he aims to confirm the subterranean flow of water by the end of 2014.