There’s An Amazonian River So Hot It’s Boiling Frogs Alive

Apparently their eyes boil first. Gross.

There's An Amazonian River So Hot It's Boiling Frogs Alive

by Mollie Wintle |
Published on

When Andrés Ruzo first heard about a boiling hot river in the Amazon from his grandfather, he assumed it was a myth. The Amazon basin is far too far from any active volcano, he reasoned. You need a huge amount of geothermal heat to boil a small river.

In 2011, however, this doubting Debbie got to see the boiling river with his own eyes. The geoscientist hiked into the jungle and discovered the four mile river in the sacred geothermal healing site of the Ashaninka people in the Mayantucya.

'Dipping my hand into the river would give me third-degree burns in less than half a second,' Ruzo told Ted. 'Falling in could easily kill me.' He's not being needlessly melodramatic. According to a report in Gizmodo, some parts are so hot that any animal that falls in boils instantly. Ruzo is matter of fact about this:

'They fall in and the first thing to go are the eyes. Eyes… cook very quickly,’ he says. ‘Finally they get to a point where hot water goes into their mouths and they cook from the inside out.'


The science behind the phenomeon is this: when rain falls onto the surrounding areas, it gathers in the porous sedimentary rock. As it moves through the rock, it heats up from the primal heat of the Earth, eventually coming to a large fault or crack. When water falls behind it, it forces the now-heated water to ascend along the fault-line to surface as a hot spring.

Ruzo is now trying to save the boiling river. The surrounding forest has been destroyed by logging practices, and if action isn't taken, the area could vanish entirely. He has written a book, The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon, that publicises the river for the first time. Check out his Ted Talk to see him discuss the river, and his adventures, in more detail.

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Follow Mollie on Twitter @molliewintle

Picture: Delvin Gandy

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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