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POROROCA: the Amazon River’s aquatic “destroyer”

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Serginho Laus of Curitiba, Parana maneuvers past plants and debris torn from the jungle by the Pororoca tidal bore wave, in the Amazon basin of Brazil in the northern state of Amapa, on April 12, 2006. Jungle foliage and tree trunks are a regular sight on the river, torn from the jungle in the wake of previous days' wave. Laus, a veteran Pororoca surfer, set a world record and entered the Guiness Book for riding the wave for longer than 6 miles (10 km) and more than 33 minutes in 2003. The tidal bore phenomenon known locally as the Pororoca, an indigenous word meaning 'Great Noise' or 'Destroyer' occurs during the Lunar Equinox in the rainy season, producing a tidal bore wave over two meters high and miles wide, washing back inland for as much as 30 miles or more. It happens for 10 days a month, split between the full moon and new moon. Strong currents follow the wave and raise water levels along the river and waterways by as much as five meters. It can be heard coming several minutes prior to its arrival and is often preceded by storm clouds and heavy rains. Photo by Gregg Newton
Serginho Laus of Curitiba, Parana, maneuvers past plants and debris torn from the jungle by the Pororoca tidal bore wave, in the Amazon basin of Brazil in the northern state of Amapa, on April 12, 2006. Jungle foliage and tree trunks are a regular sight on the river, torn from the jungle in the wake of previous days’ wave. Laus, a veteran Pororoca surfer, set a world record and entered the Guinness Book for riding the wave for longer than 6 miles (10 km) and more than 33 minutes in 2003. Photo by Gregg Newton

By Scott A. Rowan

adv-TheSuperFins.com-shirtsIn our series of stories on tidal bores, we examine the geology, and details of some of the world’s most unusual bores including the Pororoca in Brazil, China’s Qiantang River bore, France’s mascaret, Malaysia’s benak, and surfing on the Alaskan Turnagain Arm bore. In this article, we’ll specifically look at one of the most famous bores in the world: the pororoca.

In Brazil, the bore at the mouth of the Amazon River, named the pororoca, is so strong that the Amazon does not have a delta. The surging waters of the pororoca can reach up to 13 feet (4 m), forcing all sediment in the river to empty directly into the Atlantic.

Pororoca is a local term that means “destroyer” or “great noise.” It is an apropos name considering that locals can hear the bore minutes or hours before it reaches them.

Learn the what/where/why/when/how about bores.

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