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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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by the formation of ferruginous stoneware, in a layer of eight to 10 feet thick. In the river and on its banks, deposits of the quartz, jasper, and stoneware are frequently found. Banks of this stone constantly threaten to break the boat, forcing us to make big detours.

Granite cliffs on Japura river

This geological formation disappeared, however, completely, when, on the morning of the fourth day of travel, we reached some curves, which the Indians call Poco-acu (great pits). The river here makes its way through irregular blocks of granite, and forms various swirls, which, at the time of the flood, must be a dangerous passage. It was here, for the first time, that I admired the gray color of the rocks, all over the surface, where they are touched by the water. With this mass of monotone and dark colored rocks, which, struck by the sun, reverberate a moroccan, and sad region. I found this dark layer only in the granite, and it was a very hard quality; perhaps because the more tender textures of mountains, before forming new surfaces similar to the old ones, are thus transformed.

Also the hard, entirely white stoneware of Cupati, at the point touched by the water, has a brownish layer of the surface, which appears as a gradual oxidation of the iron, acting from outside to the interior of the stone. Undoubtedly, this metal also plays an important role in the coloring of the stone; but the chemical analysis will still have to indicate the extent to which the decomposition through the tropical sun and the water and the composition with the latter act together.

After passing through Poco-acu, everything seemed to compete to make the trip more painful and melancholic. The current, from .5 to .14 feet per second, according to my measurements, made it difficult at times when it was necessary to bend a curve.

The Indians, of unalterable resistance before, began to get seriously ill with fever and to complain in anger with the plague of pests; I could easily excuse their discontent, seeing their bloody backs.

Granite boulders on Japura river

Because of the constant stone boulders and reefs, we could no longer risk navigating in the coolness of the moonlight at night, when those pests retreat. At the same way we were surrounded by impetuous waters, banks of sand, which could also kill, although low, but were more dense; dark, the forest and cliffs lean over the river; no bird is heard there, no hunter descends to the shore, and the solitude, heavy and dreadful, distresses the travelers' soul. To all this discomfort was added the perversity of the soldier, who for our escort had accompanied us from Belem do Para; according to his previous conduct (we learned later that he lost his rank in Portugal), he was always more insubordinate and unruly, but was ready to give assistance in cases of necessity. So this soldier

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