Earth from Space: Meeting of Waters in Brazil

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
September 27, 2019
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Earth from Space: Meeting of Waters in Brazil
Earth from Space: Meeting of Waters in Brazil.

The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over the ‘meeting of waters’ in Brazil – where the Rio Negro and the Solimões River meet to form the Amazon River.
The Rio Negro, visible in black, is the largest tributary of the Amazon and the world’s largest black-water river. It flows 2300 km from Colombia, and it gets its dark colouring from leaf and plant matter that has decayed and dissolved in its waters.

The Rio Negro contrasts significantly with the Solimões River – visible directly below – which owes its brown-colouring to its rich sediment content, including sand, mud and silt. After flowing for around 1600 km, the Solimões River meets the Rio Negro and together form this important junction.

Owing to differences in temperature, speed and water density, the two rivers, after converging, flow side-by-side for a few kilometres , before eventually mixing.

Manaus, the largest city in the Amazon Basin, is visible on the north bank of the Rio Negro. Despite being 1500 km from the ocean, Manaus is a major inland port. The Adolfo Ducke Forest Reserve is visible northeast of the city. The almost square-shaped block of land is a protected area named after the botanist Adolfo Ducke, and is used for the research of biodiversity.

Copernicus Sentinel-2 is a two-satellite mission. Each satellite carries a high-resolution camera that images Earth’s surface in 13 spectral bands and can help monitor changes in land cover and inland waters.

This image, captured on 7 February 2018, is also featured on the Earth from Space video programme.

Download the full high-resolution image.

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