Category Archives: Amazon Geography Teasers – Answers

Answers and links to questions about Amazon geography

Amazon Geography Teaser #7 – Answer

Question: The Amazon River accounts for what percentage of all fresh water entering the world’s oceans?

Answer Choices: A) 5% B) 10% C) 15% D) 20%








Correct Answer: D) 20%

Summary: On average, the Amazon River discharges about 1,300 cubic miles per year (that’s about 6 million cubic feet per second). This number is higher than the combined discharges of the next eight largest rivers, by volume. The United States’ largest river, the Mississippi, only discharges about 75 cubic miles per year. The peak of discharge for the Amazon comes between the months of November and March, during which the river can discharge up to 500 billion cubic feet of water into the Atlantic Ocean. This is comparable to the freshwater needs of all of New York City for nine whole years! This is also the same as filling the 102 floors of the Empire State Building with water and pouring it into the Atlantic… 13,500 times! Also, during the high water season, the mouth of the Amazon can be up to 300 miles wide, which is about the distance from Philadelphia, PA to Boston, MA.

Source: Monga Bay, Rhett Butler; http://rainforests.mongabay.com/amazon/;
USGS, Earth’s water: Rivers and streams; http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthrivers.html

Amazon Geography Teaser #6 – Answer

Question: Which do you believe is the longest river in the world?

Answer Choices: A) Nile River B) Yangtze River C) Mississippi River D) Amazon River









Correct Answer: D) the Amazon River

Summary: Approximations of the length of the Amazon River usually fall between 3,900 miles and 4,100 miles. However, a recent study by Brazilian researchers has proposed a new source for the Amazon River on Mount Mismi in southern Peru which would make the Amazon River the longest river in the world at 4,250 miles. The Nile would be the next longest and is believed to be 4,160 miles long. The new proposed length could be contested and it is likely that there are many scientists who won’t agree but for the time being the Amazon is believed to be the longest river in the world. In addition to this length, about 1,100 tributaries of varying length and volume merge with the Amazon River at different locales. These rivers provide freshwater, food, and transportation routes for the many inhabitants of the region, both human and animal. One of the most astonishing features of the Amazon River system is the “Meeting of Waters” located where the dark Rio Negro meets the silty Amazon River. Overall, the rivers that flow through the Amazon Basin account for almost one-fifth of all free-flowing fresh water on earth. See the online source listed below for the whole article and maps showing the proposed new source.

A portion of the Kayapo River, an Amazon River tributary.

Source: Monga Bay; NASA maps newly proposed source of the Amazon River; July 3, 2007; http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0703-amazon.html

Amazon Geography Teaser #5 – Answer

Question: Only a few thousand years ago, rain forests, like the Amazon, covered what percent of the Earth’s surface?

Answer Choices: A) 6% B) 11% C) 14% D) 21%







Correct Answer: C) 14%

Summary: Tropical rain forests, like the Amazon, get there name because of their geographical location in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The air within this zone rises and warms very rapidly, causing an abundance of rainfall. This significant amount of rainfall allows the many species of plants and animals to thrive in the Amazon. It is believed that only a few thousand years ago tropical rain forests once covered 14% of the Earth’s surface. However, massive exploitation of the forests with activities like logging, mining, agriculture and ranching have led to massive deforestation and the loss of many of the world’s tropical rain forests. Currently, tropical rain forests cover about 7% of the earth’s surface. See a map of the distribution of the earth’s rain forests HERE.

Source: Michael Evans, Rainforests, Earthtimes.org; 27 April 2011; http://www.earthtimes.org/encyclopaedia/environmental-issues/rainforests/

Amazon Geography Teaser #4 – Answer

Question: The Amazon rainforest is roughly the same size in area as which of the following?

Answer Choices: A) Contiguous United States B) India C) China D) Australia

 

Correct Answer: A) Contiguous United States

Summary: The Amazon rainforest is an amazing natural feature. The 3,130,386 square miles of total rainforest in the Amazon make up a staggering 54% of the planet’s remaining tropical rainforests. The Amazon Basin occupies roughly 40% of South America and would cover a little more than the entire contiguous United States, about 3,119,819 square miles. Within the dense forests and through the flowing rivers of the region many inhabitants thrive on the lush tropical jungle. The Amazon is home to thousands of species of plants and animals. It is also the home to a multitude of indigenous and ethnic groups. There is an obvious link between the well-being of the Amazon to the well-being of the Earth as a whole and its continued protection is necessary.

Area of the Amazon Basin (shaded green) in relation to the contiguous United States (black outline) at roughly the same scale*

Source: World Wildlife Fund; Amazon: World’s largest tropical rain forest and river basin; http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/wherewework/amazon/index.html#
U.S. Census Bureau; USA Data Facts; http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

*Map was self-created with two separate maps from GoogleMaps and WorldAtlas

Amazon Geography Teaser #3 – Answer

Question: Which South American countries are NOT included within the boundaries of the Amazon Basin?

Answer Choices: A) Guyana B) Argentina C) Bolivia D) Paraguay

Correct Answer: B) Argentina and D) Paraguay

Summary: The Amazon rainforest is a massive area that spans almost entirely from the west coast of the continent of South America to the east coast. The area of the rainforest is approximately 2.6 million square miles. The countries that are incorporated within this vast forest include Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. The Amazon Basin occupies roughly 40% of all of South America. Argentina does contain a patch of tropical rainforest like the Amazon, but is fed by the Paraná River system and not the mighty Amazon. All of these countries are rapidly developing in terms of population and economic growth and there is no question of how important the Amazon is to their overall well-being.

Map of the bounded area of the entire Amazon rainforest

Source: World Wildlife Fund; Amazon: World’s largest tropical rain forest and river basin; http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/wherewework/amazon/index.html#

Amazon Geography Teaser #2 – Answer

Question: Traveling sailors could drink the Amazon’s fresh water before they could even see South America. Can you guess how many miles off coast this was?

Answer choices: A) 10 miles B) 50 miles C) 125 miles D) 1,000 miles

Correct Answer: C) 125 miles

Summary: Explorers, sailors, and other adventurers traveling to the eastern coast of South America would reach a point where the ocean water would transition into pure fresh water. This occurred about 125 miles from the many mouths of the Amazon River. The river releases water at a force of 55 million gallons per second and drains an area about the size of the United States. It is also eleven times as voluminous as the Mississippi River.

See photo of Amazon fresh water mixing with sea

Source: Monga Bay, Rhett Butler

Amazon Geography Teaser #1 – Answer

Question: Which other well-known river system shares an ancient history with the Amazon River?

Answer: [C] the Congo River

Summary: At one time the Amazon River flowed westward, not eastward as it does today. This may have taken place when the pre-Congo river system flowed through present-day Africa when the continents were formed in the supercontinent, Gondwana. Over 400 million years ago, Gondwana existed before it was broken up over time into the seven continents we know today. This separation is due to plate tectonics, a phenomenon that is still pushing continents together and pulling them apart. The Amazon River now flows from west to east with its headwaters in the Peruvian Andes.

Source: Monga Bay, Rhett Butler; http://rainforests.mongabay.com/amazon/

See Map of Gondwana when the ancient Amazon River was connected to Africa.