Legendary Mayantuyacu River. Peru
Mystic river, which used to be considered as just a legend, was discovered in the jungles of Amazonia. The boiling river really exists!
For the first time the future geologist Andrés Ruzo has heard about the river in Mayantuyacu from his grandfather. He told him the story about the Spanish conquistadors who killed the last Inca emperor. Then the soldiers went to the Amazon jungle searching for gold, to the city called Paititi – mythical golden city of the Incas, El Dorado, the Golden City in Spanish. Upon returning, those who survived told terrible stories about poisoned water, the powerful shamans, the trees which obscure the sun, the spiders that ate birds, snakes that ate humans and boiling river.
Twelve years later, Andrés heard about this river again at a family dinner, from his aunt who has even swum in it. Allegedly, the river was under the protection of a powerful shaman. And his aunt was a friend of shaman’s wife. The water of that river really was constantly boiling, and any animal accidentally which could fall into the river, instantaneously became boiled, and the man who lowered the hand into the water, received severe burns. But it was possible to swim in that river, but only after a heavy rain. Of course the boy laughed, but remembered the story. Then, the Peruvian geologist decided to find this river whatever the cost.
In 2011, Andrés Ruzo was lucky to find amazing river deep in the Amazon rainforest, Peru. He could not believe his eyes. Usually very hot rivers flow in the immediate vicinity of volcanoes, but there are no volcanoes in this area. Within five years, the scientist studied the water in the river and features of the nearest ecosystems. Length of the river is about 6 kilometers, its maximum width reaches 25 meters and the depth is 6 meters. The average temperature of the water – 86 degrees Celsius, but at different locations it varies and there are areas where the temperature really reaches the boiling point. Scientists witnessed how the animals died trapped in the river. The ancient Peruvian legend was true! However, biologists have found microbes in the water that successfully survived at such high temperatures.
Studies have shown that the water of the river originated from the rains. Perhaps, somewhere along the way it seeps down into the earth, and is heated by geothermal energy. This means that the system is a small outer part of a larger hydrothermal system. However, the way how exactly the water is heated and how it is moving is still a mystery to scientists.
The researchers have also found that the river is in the danger zone due to the destruction of the Amazon forests. In order to prevent this, Andrés Ruzo and like-minded group make every effort to save the boiling river. After all, it is not only an amazing natural phenomenon, but also a sacred healing geothermal place of the Ashaninka people in Mayantuyacu.
Andrés Ruzo even has written a book “The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon” and it is a gripping story about searching for river. It tells in detail how a little boy was inspired by ancient legends told by his grandfather, about a young man seeking for truth.