Río Apurímac

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Río Apurímac
Río Apurímac

Río Apurímac

location PeruPeru Peru
River system Amazon
Drain over Río Ene  → Río Tambo  → Río Ucayali  → Amazon  → Atlantic
Confluence of Río Santiago and Río Huarhuarco
15 ° 13 ′ 19 ″  S , 71 ° 48 ′ 24 ″  W
Source height approx.  4350  m
Association with Río Mantaro to Río Ene Coordinates: 12 ° 15 ′ 45 ″  S , 73 ° 58 ′ 30 ″  W 12 ° 15 ′ 45 ″  S , 73 ° 58 ′ 30 ″  W.
Mouth height approx.  470  m
Height difference approx. 3880 m
Bottom slope approx. 5.3 ‰
length 730.7 km
Catchment area 66,100 km²
Drain MQ
1050 m³ / s
Left tributaries Río Livitaca , Río Velille , Río Santo Tomás , Río Vilcabamba , Río Pachachaca , Río Pampas
Right tributaries Río Salado , Río Hornillos
Small towns San Francisco , Kimbiri , Pichari , Sivia
Río Apurímac in the Andes

Río Apurímac in the Andes

Headwaters of the Apurímac (Colca Valley near Caylloma)

Headwaters of the Apurímac (Colca Valley near Caylloma )

The Río Apurímac ( Quechua : Apurimaq ) is a river in southeastern Peru . It has been considered the headwaters of the Amazon since the middle of the 20th century and has been recognized as such since 1975.


The name translated from Quechua ( Apu = "Lord / Mountain God", rimay = "to speak") means "speaking Lord" or "speaking God". It is the subject of numerous Inca stories and namesake of the Peruvian region of Apurímac .

River course

The Río Apurímac arises southwest of Caylloma from the confluence of the Río Santiago and Río Huarhuarco . After about 22 km it flows into the Río Hornillos , whose source at the Nevado Mismi is recognized as a source of the Amazon. After a distance of 730.7 kilometers, the Río Apurímac joins the Río Mantaro to the Río Ene , later becomes the Río Tambo and then flows into the Río Ucayali at kilometer 1069.8 , which in turn forms the Amazon together with the Marañón .

The extremely steep Apurímac overcomes from its origin of around 5020  m over a length of only 600 kilometers 3520 meters of difference in altitude up to an altitude of 1500  m . The Apurímac is thus one of the most rapid rivers in the world. In the rainy season when there is high water , it makes a deafening noise in the gorge. Rafting adventure groups with rubber dinghies often experience a fiasco on the Apurímac. Native people ( indigenous people ) advise against such rafting tours, because deaths are not uncommon.

A special feature of the river is the Q'iswachaka suspension bridge made of grass .

The largest tributaries

The largest tributaries include (downstream):

Amazon source

The most distant source of the Amazon River in the headwaters of the Ucayali has been sought since the 1930s . The exact location of the source remained unclear for a long time. After other Ucayali tributaries were also considered as headwaters of the Amazon, the 5239  m high mountain Cerro Huagra , where the sources of the main arm of the Apurímac are located, was favored in the 1950s . In 1969, the Peruvian geographer Carlos Peñaherrera del Águila first proposed the Nevado Mismi mountain range as a source area, in which the most distant sources of the Apurímac are located, which drain into the Apurímac via the Hornillos tributary . In 1971 the American Loren McIntyre proved the decisive position of the Apurímac as the longest Ucayali tributary; From around 1975 the Apurímac was generally recognized as the headwaters of the Amazon. The location of the Amazon springs in the Apurímac headwaters in southern Peru was confirmed by several expeditions and investigations in the 1990s and 2000s, including data from NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) in 2000 and an expedition by the National Geographic Society in the same Year. The Apacheta Gorge on Nevado Quehuisha , the western neighboring mountain of the Mismi, has been recognized as an official Amazon spring since 2007 .

Recently, two scientists have raised the question of the most distant Amazon source again and identified another Ucayali tributary next to the Río Apurímac as an even more distant water source of the Amazon, namely the Río Mantaro , a source river of the Río Ene, the most distant source about 150 km northeast from Lima in the vicinity of Lake Junín in a region closer to the tropics of Peru and, according to the study, is 75–92 km further away from the Amazon estuary than the headwaters at Nevado Mismi . However, unlike the Apurímac, these sources do not provide a continuous inflow to the Amazon.

Web links

Commons : Río Apurímac  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Kümmerly + Frey Rand McNally : International Atlas . Published by Georg Westermann Verlag ISBN 3-07-508962-1
  2. James Contos, Nicholas Tripcevich: Correct placement of the most distant source of the Amazon River in the Mantaro River drainage. In: Area (Journal of the Royal Geographical Society ), Volume 46, Issue 1 (February 12, 2014), pp. 27-39. doi: 10.1111 / area.12069