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Deep in the Amazon rainforest, in Mayantuyacu, Peru, flows a river so hot its water actually boils. The locals call it “Shanay-timpishka” which loosely translates to “boiled with the heat of the sun.” They believe that the hot water is released by a giant serpent called Yacumama, “Mother of the Waters,” who is represented by a large serpent head-shaped boulder at the river’s headwaters.

The river is about 25 meters wide and 6 meters deep, but only 6.4 km long. The water temperature ranges between 50 and 90 degree centigrade, with small portions touching 100 degrees, hot enough to cause third-degree burns within seconds. Many unfortunate animals have fallen into the river and got killed. While there are documented hot springs in the Amazon, nothing is as large as Shanay-timpishka.

mayantuyacu-boiling-river-6

Photo credit: Devlin Gandy

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