This Incredible ‘Boiling River’ Is A Scientific Enigma

When geoscientist and National Geographic explorer Andrés Ruzo was growing up in Lima, Peru, his grandfather used to tell him wild stories of Spanish conquistadors, cities of gold and an Amazonian river so hot it could boil men alive.

But it wasn’t until he was studying geothermal energy that Ruzo decided to look into this mythical boiling river — and, much to his surprise, actually found it. While boiling rivers do exist in the world, they are usually found close to active volcanos. This river is especially remarkable because it runs more than 400 miles from the nearest active volcano — the only non-volcanic river known to boil on Earth.

“At a time when everything seems mapped, measured and understood, this river challenges what we think we know,” Ruzo writes in his new book, The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon. “It is a reminder that there are still great wonders to be discovered.”

Located in a forest region called Mayantuyacu, the sacred boiling river, which is guarded by a shaman, flows hot — between 120 and 196 degrees Fahrenheit — for almost 4 miles and is about as wide as a two-lane road.

Its ancient name, “Shanay-timpishka,” loosely translates to “boiled with the heat of the sun,” Ruzo writes —> Read More

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