Quiz: Can you guess the river from the space?

Contributed by Calum Baugh, Maria-Helena Ramos and Florian Pappenberger

Here are four rivers seen from Google Earth. Can you recognize them?

River 1:

This is the Purus River or Rio Purús, which is a tributary of the Amazon River in South America, running through Peru and Brazil. It is said to be “one of the most tortuous waterways” in the world, or at least this is what the Brazilian journalist and historian Euclides da Cunha says in his book À margem da História, where he reports on a historic trip he took along the river in 1904. The author also says “The Purus is one of the greatest gifts among so many that overwhelms us with a scandalously wasteful nature” and denounces the severe impact of mining on the environment already at that time.

River 2:

To find this river, you have to venture a bit further to the South-east Region of Brazil. This is the Arrudas River, a tributary of the Rio das Velhas, which is a tributary of the São Francisco river (or “Old Chico” as you may hear in Brazil). The river is more a channelized and very dirty water/sewer-course these days, but it used to be a river with open air tributaries flowing through the city of Belo Horizonte, back in 1897 when the city was created to become the capital of the State of Minas Gerais (check photos here). Despite its urbanization, the city is great (so says MHR), with the highest number of bars per capita in Brazil (maybe in the word?) and excellent regional food.

River 3:

This is the Lena River delta. According to Wikipedia, It is the 11th longest river in the world and has the 9th largest catchment area (2,500,000 km2). It is also the 3rd largest river in Asia, and the largest among the rivers whose catchment is entirely within the Russian territorial boundaries. The delta extends 100 kilometres into the Laptev Sea and is about 400 km wide. Definitely a challenge for any hydrological model!

River 4:

To end this quiz, we propose a view of the Büyük Menderes in south-western Turkey (here, near Miletus), historically known as the Meander River. It seems that we own the word “meander” to this sinuous river. If you want to know more about the beauties of the river, you can check Jeremy Seal’s description of a “month-long canoe trip down the length of Turkey’s Meander river”, “from its source in the uplands of western Turkey to where it empties into the Aegean”. Enjoy the voyage!



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