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God, Oil, and Peru’s Boiling River

Hutchison, Natalie

In the sleepy Peruvian jungle lies a geothermal anomaly, thought to be an ancient legend. Proving its life with a roaring presence, the boiling river, named “Shanay Timpishka” is one of two geothermal systems in the world not produced by volcanic activity. To local communities, it is a source of water for cooking, bathing and healing; for science, the organisms it houses could help explain where life came from. As deforestation infringes upon the area and the effects of climate change become more prevalent, the boiling river and its neighboring species are under fire. Natalie Hutchison reports on how this destruction has occurred, and how science and spirituality are working to preserve an exploitable wonder.