Earth from Space: Paraná River

16 November 2007

This Envisat image highlights the Paraná River in Brazil. The river is formed on the plateau of south central Brazil by the confluence of the Rio Grande and Paranaíba Rivers.

With a course of some 4880 km, the Paraná River is the second longest in South America, second only to the Amazon River, and the 13th longest in the world.

The river flows southwest across the eastern edge of Brazil’s Mato Grosso state before forming the boundary between Brazil and Paraguay. It then runs west and forms the boundary between Paraguay and Argentina.

Continuing its course, it flows south and east through Argentina where it unites with the Uruguay River to form the extensive Río de la Plata estuary of the Atlantic Ocean.

With an area of about 2 800 000 square km, the Paraná River's drainage basin is the second largest on the continent. Its drainage system includes the greater part of southeastern Brazil, Paraguay, southeastern Bolivia and northern Argentina.

The river is known as the Alto (Upper) Paraná from its origin to its junction with the Paraguay River. When it is joined by the Paraguay River, it becomes the lower Paraná and flows only through Argentine territory.

This image was acquired by Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument on 3 July 2007, working in Full Resolution mode to provide a spatial resolution of 300 metres.

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