Hamza River (Portuguese: Rio Hamza) is an unofficial name, for what seems to be a slowly flowing aquifer in Brazil, approximately 6,000 kilometres (3,700 mi) long. Its discovery was announced in 2011. The unofficial name is in honour of scientist Valiya Mannathal Hamza, of Brazil's National Observatory, who has undertaken research on the region for four decades.
The Hamza and the Amazon are the two main drainage systems for the Amazon Basin, although the Hamza only has a flow rate 3% the size of the Amazon — about 3,000 cubic metres (110,000 cu ft) per second. It runs west to east, some 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) below the Earth's surface, and follows roughly the path of the Amazon river. The Hamza empties in the Atlantic Ocean, deep under the surface. Its own water has a high salt content.
Research status and debate
The Hamza was discovered by a team of scientists led by Valiya Hamza using thermal data collected from 241 inactive oil wells in the area, drilled in the 1970s and 1980s, by the Petrobras oil company. Calculations from these data showed that a larger flow should exist. Direct observation of water movement at a very low rate can be difficult. The speed of flow is slower than that of an average glacier, and Dr. Hamza himself says that the team uses the term ‘river’ in a general sense, not in the conventional sense. In the title to the original paper, the word ‘river’ appears in quotation marks.
The evidence was presented at the 12th International Congress of the Brazilian Geophysical Society in Rio de Janeiro and as of August 2011 has not yet been published, although the research team noted that the techniques used to predict the flowing aquifer’s presence are not unusual for earth science. Scientists have explained that the research results are preliminary, and that the definite scientific validation of the existence of the flowing aquifer is to be expected in a few years.
- Choi, Charles Q. (August 31, 2011). "Underground river discovered beneath Amazon". OurAmazingPlanet. Science on MSNBC. "“The name given to the underground flow is not official,” Hamza said."
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