Imagine a river hot enough to kill you. Hidden in the dense jungle of the Peruvian Amazon lies a scalding river with temperatures that can reach up to 210 degrees Fahrenheit. As a child, André Ruzo listened to his Peruvian grandfather tell the story of Shanay-timpishka – the ancient name which loosely translates to “boiling with the heat of the sun.” Though Ruzo thought the Boiling River was a myth, the tales his grandfather told stayed with him well into adulthood. When Ruzo became a geothermal scientist and conservationist, he decided to investigate whether the story could be true – and more importantly, whether science could explain it.
“Turns out this place is real”, Ruzo says. “The hottest temperature I’ve measured is 210 degrees Fahrenheit. To put that into everyday terms, the average coffee is roughly 130 degrees”.
“It’s hard to physically imagine that much hot water. You stick your hand in and you will see second and third degree burns in a matter of seconds”.
“Feeling that heat come into you, breathing in this thick hot air where you can feel the air heating you up inside your nose. You can feel it going into your lungs, you can feel the presence of your lungs because of the heat of the air. That still gives me goosebumps”