National Geographic team pinpoints source of Amazon River
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- A five-nation expedition has determined the precise
source of the Amazon River in southern Peru through the use of advanced
satellite navigation technology, the National Geographic Society said Thursday.
The team used Global Positioning System equipment to take measurements
precisely confirm the ultimate source of the river as a stream beginning on
Nevado Mismi, a mountain in southern Peru, NGS said in a statement.
In recent years, at least one other stream flowing from a separate peak
identified as the source of the mighty Amazon, one of the world's longest rivers.
The Amazon springs from the Andes' high glacial regions and the riddle
source has inspired speculation for centuries.
National Geographic said the GPS equipment used by the expedition was
considered accurate to within 1 to 5 meters. GPS receivers use orbiting satellites
as reference points to pin point locations on the Earth's surface.
"The trip's result is a highly reliable map of the Amazon's headwaters
accurate determination of the river's source," said Andrew Pietowski, a
mathematics teacher from Carmel, New York, who led the expedition.
"I was delighted to lead the team of explorers and scientists, despite
what we had
to overcome -- cold, vicious winds and temperatures well below zero Fahrenheit,
high altitude and very rough terrain," he added.
Pietowski's team members -- representing the United States, Poland, Peru,
Canada and Spain -- traveled by foot, jeep, bicycle and horseback to explore the
five remote Andean rivers that combine to form the Amazon.
Smithsonian Institution geographer Andrew Johnson said the source of the
Amazon could be defined as the most distant point in the drainage basin from
which surface water ran year round, or the furthest point from which water
could possible flow to the Atlantic.
"The Nevado Mismi fits both of these definitions," said Johnson, who directed
the GPS work.
National Geographic said the July 2000 expedition was the culmination of
reconnaissance trips in 1998 and 1999.
Copyright 2000 Reuters.