The second longest river in the world (6,280 km), the Amazon transports 15% of all the Earth's running water, with a flow of up to 190 million liters per second. Along with its tributaries, it drains an area (known as the basin) covering 7 million km' (three-quarters the size of the United States or 30 times that of the United Kingdom). In the Amazon basin, the temperature of the water is always higher than 20°C and the climate is characterized by alternating dry and rainy seasons. The latter brings with it suspended substances and makes the water rise substantially (up to 10 m in the Amazon itself!). The water then spreads over vast expanses, which it floods; when the waters retreat, they often leave behind pools and marshes, This region is the richest in the world for fishes.
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