Explored and yet to explore, our Universal arena is endowed with abundant mysteries and mesmeric realities. From the birth of a cell to the death of a star everything in this Cosmos evolves and revolves with a touch of science and wonder intertwined. Nature is referred as “the Art of God”, while water is cited as “the gift of nature”. One of such renowned loci is Shanay Timpishka, a tributary in the mightiest Amazon River. Located in Peru, it covers an area of 6.4 kilometres over Mayantuyacu Sanctuary in the Amazon rainforest. As stated by Wordsworth in his poem about the Tintern Abbey, 

                      These waters rolling from their mountain springs                       With a soft inland murmur,

 this river stream too burbles over its flow through the majestic Amazon rainforest.

         The mystery of this tributary lies in the roaring temperature of the moving water body. The temperature of the river oscillates between 85 to 95 degree Celsius, very close to the actual boiling point of water.  Bubbling to boil anything that falls into it, the Boiling River of Amazon is still an aquatic system with fresh water mineral nutrient composition, being the “Wanderer through the woods”.

          The Boiling River was explored by Andres Ruzo, a geographic explorer, after hearing the mystery in his boyhood from his grandfather. The mystery was explained to him in terms of a myth regarding the Spanish conquest of Peru. Around the 13th century, when the Spaniards were craving for more wealth and riches from the Inca civilization of the Peruvian Highlands, the Emperor of Inca civilization directed them to the great Amazon. Amazon was then known by the term Rio Amazonas.  The emperor pointed to the city named Paititi, which was a wonder land of Inca civilization. On their quest, they came across the tributary Shanay Timpishka meaning ‘boiled with the heat of the sun’.  They believed that the boiling water was once created by Yucamama, a massive serpent spirit, also considered as the ‘Mother of the Waters’.  When this was the folklore, Ruzo’s aunt revealed her real visit to such a mysterious river in the midst of the enormous Amazon Rainforest. She also directed Ruzo to the actual site, where Ruzo explored the boiling river, the locals and their Shaman in 2011, discovered the mystique and eventually solved the mystery as his PhD dissertation.

           Amazon Boiling River is a steaming water body, hot and equally hazardous for any living thing that plunges into it.  There also occurs an effusion of vapour over the river stream hinting the high temperature as well as enabling a steamy apparition. In general, hot water springs do occur when there is a presence of a volcano in that immediate location. But in accordance with the Boiling River of Amazon, volcanoes are found nearly 450 miles away from the actual site, making it impossible for the Boiling River to get heated up by the volcanoes. In addition to this mystery, another perplexing issue with the Boiling River is that such hot streams ever existed, have covered only an area of few metres of waterbed. But the Amazon Boiling River boils across the entire six kilometres of flow, remaining relevant to the sayings of Richard Feynman, “Nature’s imagination is so much greater than man’s.”

             When neither possibility detected, nor reasons revealed regarding the boiling water systems, Zuro made his way into solving the mystery by studying the ecosystem for five whole years. Finally our mother nature’s logical magic on earth was unearthed by Zuro, where the primary element behind the entire enigma seems to be the science of hydrothermal systems with geothermal embodiments.  

              The deeper segments of our Planet consist of several chinks and cracks, fractures and fissures, through which occurs the oozing of water. This remains much similar to that of the blood seeping through our nerves and veins.  As per hydrothermal effect, the deeper the water circulates, the hotter it becomes. This is known in scientific terms as the geothermal gradient.  The heated oozes when make out their way through the surface water, there occurs the geothermal manifestation causing the river in Mayantuyacu to get boiled up. 

             Such a unique geological wonder is considered a magical gateway by the locals, while it remains a logical magic for the researchers. This ever existing heated up water body in Amazon, also serves the local population with their multifaceted everyday water needs. They consider the boiling river as a spiritual portal for the divine spirits to enter and exit, protecting the forest resources. Even when the mystery was solved by the aid of scientific analyses, it still remains an exceptional geological setting with peculiar feature and bewildering occurrence, reminding our Romantic Poet, William Wordsworth’s quotation- “What wealth the show to me had brought”. 

             Nature has showed up in its finest sense through the entire Boiling River, where it also serves a trap for living creatures that fail to realise the nature’s tricks.  Any organism, that leaps before it looks, is subjected to a horrific death by getting boiled alive.

         Similar to the Amazon boiling river, there are several other bizarre existences on  our planet such as the presence of microbes in the Blood Falls of Antarctica, the sailing stones of Death Valley in California, existence of strange life forms in Movile Caves of Romania, etc,. Altogether it substantiates the infiniteness of nature as well as human’s ability in inspecting the unexpectancy. Let us perceive ourselves as a part of this marvellous nature in itself.

Go with the flow and make your glow
Beyond the composure and mysteries though
Jaw-dropping, jaunting and jumbling to know
To agree with nature all the way through.

By R. JAYA PRATHA, Madurai, Tamilnadu


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