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Friday, 15 December, 2000, 10:44 GMT
Amazon source confirmed
Amazon AFP
Andrew Johnston co-ordinated the satellite work
An US-led expedition says it has confirmed the location for the exact source of the Amazon River.

The National Geographic Society team says the waters can be traced back to a stream high in the Andes mountains of southern Peru.

Amazon BBC
The Amazon dominates the lives of everything that lives on, in or by it
It flows from a 5,597 metre- (18,363 foot-) high peak called Nevado Mismi, which has now been surveyed by the explorers using satellite navigation equipment.

"The trip's result is a highly reliable map of the Amazon's headwaters and an 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 - vicious winds and temperatures well below zero Fahrenheit, high altitude and very rough terrain.''

Most distant point

A National Geographic team had established Mismi as the river's source in 1971, but in recent years the possibility had been raised that the actual source was a different stream flowing from another mountain.

This alternative has now been rejected.

Amazon AP
The confluence of the Apacheta River and Lioqueta River in the mountains of Peru
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 possibly flow to the Atlantic.

"The Nevado Mismi fits both of these definitions,'' said Johnson.

The NGS team included 22 members from the United States, Poland, Peru, Canada and Spain. They moved by foot, Jeep, bicycle and horseback to explore the five remote Andean rivers that combine to form the Amazon - the Apurimac, Huallaga, Mantaro, Maranion and Urubamba-Vilcanota.

The Amazon itself is 6,275 kilometres long (3,900 miles). It snakes through the world's largest rainforest. Every year, without fail, the river bursts its banks, flooding an area of forest the size of England.

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25 Aug 00 | Americas
Peru rainforest wins World Bank cash
16 Aug 00 | Americas
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18 Aug 00 | Americas
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