Sunday 12 May 2013


RIO HAMZA: chanced to see this interesting piece in an old Hindustan Times news paper dated 7th September 2012.

It is the world’s longest underground river, discovered recently in the Amazon Basin in Brazil, has been named Rio Hamza(River Hamza) after Kerala born scientist Villiya M Hamza, who led the team that found the river.

The river runs four km underground and is 6,000km long the same length as the Amazon. Like the Amazon, the world’s second longest river, Hamza also drains out in the Atlantic.

From a very young age, he was curious to know what was happening under the earth!

Hailing from a middle class family, College education was from India. He graduated from Devagiri College in Kozhikode, and did his post-graduation from Victoria College, Palakkad . He got his doctorate in Geo-physics from Canada.

A ticket to Brazil by a friend changed his life. Since 1974 he has settled there. He has a Brazilian wife.

Prof Hamza, studied the temperature variations in the crude from the numerous shallow and deep oil wells that the petro giant Petrobas extracted in the Amazon region. He deduced that perhaps the temperature variations could be due to pressure of the presence of massive volumes of sub surface water.

He encouraged his research student Elizabeth.T.Pimentel in 1990. It moves slower than a glacier. The river has been put in quotes as ‘River’. Prof. Hamza told B.B.C News that it was not a river in the conventional sense. The term was used in a more generic sense . The direction of lateral movement inferred from the basement topography and geological characteristics of the region is from west to east following roughly the course of the surface drainage system of the mighty Amazon.

Jorge Fingeredo, a geologist with Petrobas disputes whether the saline water is really being transported across the region!

Whatever! It indeed is a great find!

I salute his fellow scientists who as a tribute have named the water body after him!

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