KOZHIKODE: V M Hamza, a native of Kunnamangalam, made a name for himself in Brazil by discovering a subterranean river, 'Rio Hamza' (River Hamza), which was later named after him.
Hamza, who is back in Kozhikode for the first time after his ground-breaking scientific feat, which was made public last year, was given a rousing civic reception in the city on Thursday.
"Kerala has had a long connection with Brazil and got many of its culinary favourites ranging from tapioca to cashew nut from that country. I am glad that I have been able to pay it back through the discovery of Rio Hamza," Hamza said in a lighter vein at the function.
The River Hamza is a 6,000-km long underground river flowing some 4 km beneath the mighty Amazon River and is 300-km wide.
"It is like our Yamuna River flowing underneath the Amazon," he said giving the packed audience an idea of his sub-terrain discovery.
The 71-year-old Hamza, who took his masters from Kerala University in 1964, landed in Brazil looking for a job in 1974 after earning his PhD from the West Ontario University in Canada. He secured a teaching job at the University of Sao Polo and is currently Professor Emeritus at the National Observatory in Rio de Janeiro.
Hamza's discovery of the mega sub-surface river came about after he analyzed data from oil wells drilled by Petrobas in the Amazon region. The geo-thermal data revealed that the entire area under the Amazon region was much cooler that it should be, pointing to the existence of a sub-surface river.
"To confirm our findings we developed the world's smallest heat flow equipment and thermistor probe which could measure underground temperatures inside wells drilled in the Amazon region. We found that there were permeable rocks beneath the Amazon River and water from the river could penetrate up to 4 km deep." he said.
Hamza said Rio Hamza had a much slower flow rate of 3,900 cubic metre per second compared to the two lakh cubic metre per second flow of the Amazon.
District collector K V Mohan Kumar presented a memento to Dr Hamza at the function.