The Lena River belongs to the Arctic Ocean water system. It is one of the three major Siberian rivers in Russia that flow into the Arctic Ocean (the other two are the Ob River and the Yenisei River). It is also the second-largest river in Russia.
Most researchers believe that the name of the Lena River comes from the Old Evenki language Elyu-Ene. As early as the 10th century, the Liao Kingdom of China had sent officials to investigate the Lena River area. In the 17th century, the Russian Empire expanded into the Lena Valley.
The Lena River originates from the mountains along the west bank of Lake Baikal in southeastern Siberia, only about 10 kilometers away from Lake Baikal. And it flows to the delta estuary on the Laptev coast of the Arctic Ocean. The basin is located at 53°~73° north latitude and 105°~130° east longitude. The freezing period is long throughout the year. You will get more information about the Lena River in this post.
Lena River Introduction
The Lena begins in the Baikal Mountains, a mountain range in central Siberia, at 10 km (6.8 mi) west of Lake Baikal. The Lena flows northeast and finally empties into the Laptev Sea, a branch of the Arctic Ocean. Some of its major tributaries are the Kirenga, Vitim, Oylokma, Aldan, and Vilyuy rivers. The Lena River is divided into three main sections, each of approximately 1,450 km (900 miles):
- The upper course is from the source to its tributary - the Vitim River.
- The midstream is from the Vitim River to the mouth of the Ardan.
- The downstream is from the mouth of the Ardan to the Laptev Sea.
|Source||The Baikal Mountains|
|Mouth||The Lena Delta|
|Length||4,400 kilometers (2,734 mi)|
|Basin Size||2.49 million square kilometers (970,000 sq mi)|
It is 4,400 kilometers (2,734 mi) long, the tenth longest river in the world. The estuary has an average annual flow of 16,400 cubic meters per second (579,000 cubic feet per second). The total annual flow is nearly 417 billion cubic meters (100 cubic miles), with an annual inflow of 488 cubic kilometers into the sea.
The basin area is 2.49 million square kilometers (970,000 sq mi), and it has the 9th largest watershed in the world. The Lena River Delta is the largest Arctic Delta in the world, with an area of 32,000 square kilometers; it is mainly wetlands. Vast tracts of land along the river are protected in nature reserves, such as the Lena Delta Nature Reserve, the Lena Pillars, and the Ust-Lensky Nature Reserve. Although it is the largest permafrost region of the delta water system, the delta area is constantly changing due to the regular downstream deposition of large amounts of sediment in this area.
More than 95% of the flowing water of the Lena River comes from snowmelt and rainfall; it is mainly supplied by ice and snowmelt water, and the rest of the annual flow comes from groundwater. Flash flooding is common in summer, while in winter, there is very little flow, and during glacial periods, the flow can be completely cut off.
The Lena River plays a very significant role in the life of the people settled along its banks. Where the river flows through lowland regions, various crops, like cucumbers, potatoes, wheat, and barley, are commercially cultivated. Animal ranching is also well developed here, facilitated by the availability of vast pasture lands for animal grazing. The land around the Lena River also has a rich repository of mineral wealth. The river also holds immense potential for the development of hydroelectric power, but only a small fraction of this prospect has been exploited to date.