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ATRATO, a river of western Colombia, South America, rising
on the slopes of the Western Cordilleras, in 5° 36′ N. lat., and
flowing almost due north to the Gulf of Uraba, or Darien, where
it forms a large delta. Its length is about 400 m., but owing to
the heavy rainfall of this region it discharges no less than 175,000
cub. ft. of water per second, together with a very large quantity
of sediment, which is rapidly filling the gulf. The river is navigable
to Quibdo (250 m.), and for the greater part of its course
for large vessels, but the bars at its mouth prevent the entrance
of sea-going steamers. Flowing through the narrow valley
between the Cordillera and coast range, it has only short tributaries,
the principal ones being the Truando, Sucio and Murri.
The gold and platinum mines of Choco were on some of its
affluents, and the river sands are auriferous. The Atrato at one
time attracted considerable attention as a feasible route for a
trans-isthmian canal, which, it was estimated, could be excavated
at a cost of £11,000,000.
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