In the Amazon basin, some rivers run wild. With no dams or levees to control them, they are free to meander—some more than others.
For example, the Rio Mamoré, which flows north across Bolivia, is one such wanderer. It flows from the Andes Mountains and across the Bolivian lowlands into Brazil. Watching this river meander in Landsat images over the past few decades shows us how much a river can meander under natural conditions. The Mamoré has a large sediment load, so it meanders more than most.
These meandering river dynamics are important for maintaining a healthy habitat. The floodplains here depend on the river migration to maintain the wetland habitats.
The growing city of Trinidad, with a population of over 100,000, can be seen in the upper right of these images, just east of the river.
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