In 1996, an expedition team led by the Polish adventurer Jacek Palkiewicz confirmed the source of the Amazon River at the foot of Mount Quehuisha in the Peruvian Andes. Today, Jacek Palkiewicz is an Ambassador of the Masurian Lake District, one of the 28 Official Finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature. Coincidentally, the Amazon is another one of the Finalists.
Recently, Palkiewicz returned to the 5,319 metre-high Mount Quehuisha for the unveiling of a plaque that commemorates the 1996 discovery. “Here starts the Amazon, the greatest river in the world,” states the plaque.
What begins at Mount Quehuisha ends up releasing an astonishing amount of water into the Atlantic Ocean. In the rainy season, the volume reaches 300,000 cubic metres a second. This means that the Amazon is responsible for almost 20 percent of the Earth’s fresh water entering the ocean.
“Preserved in its original condition, the birthplace of the main hydrological system of the world creates an ecosystem that is important for the human being, playing a vital role in maintaining the environmental balance of the whole planet,” said Dr. Nicole Bernex Weiss from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Perú. “It is a monument of nature, a key element of a global natural heritage.”
Palkiewicz is delighted that his work has contributed so much valuable material to the debate on the origin of the Amazon. He notes that that his research was “fully confirmed” last year with data provided by the South Korean KOMPSAT-2 satellite, which showed that there is no outlet in the lagoon at the foot of Mount Mismi, a theory about the origin of the Amazon supported by many authorities.