The Ural River originates from the southern Ural Mountains, flows through the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan, and empties into the Caspian Sea in Atyrau. It is the fourth largest inland river in the world. Geographically, it is considered the boundary river between Europe and Asia.
The Ural River has total 58 tributaries, with the most prominent ones being Kushum, Derkul, Chagan, Irtek, Utva, Elek, Bolshaya Chobda, Kindel, Sakmara, Tanalyk, Salmys, Or and Suunduk. Tributaries from the right side are typical mountain rivers, while the left side tributaries have flatland characteristics.
The Ural River is one of the two major rivers that empty into the northern coast of the Caspian Sea; the other is the Volga. The Ural River is important for many fish species living in the Caspian Sea. The wetlands created by the river's delta are also important for the migrating birds, which host many endangered species. Numerous rare animals and plants grow in the Ural basin.
The Ural River Introduction
The Ural River starts from the slopes of the Mount Kruglaya of the Uraltau Mountain ridge in Southern Ural. The upper source flows south along the Ural Mountains through the heavy industrial cities such as Magnitogorsk and turns westward to Orsk. After Orenburg, it receives the largest tributary, the Samara River, then the river turns southwards again and enters the Caspian Sea through the Atyrau region in western Kazakhstan. In the Atyrau region, the river widens and has many lakes and ducts.
- The upper reaches of the river are from the source of the river to Orsk, and all flow through the mountains, where many tributaries join in, is rich in water resources, and have built a large-scale hydraulic hub.
- Since Orsk entered the middle reaches, the river began to flow into the plain, the valley widened, and the volume of water flow increased. Near Orenburg, the average annual flow is 104 cubic meters per second.
- The river's lower reaches are from Uralsk to the mouth; this section flows across a lowland of semi-desert, with no tributaries and little precipitation. The canal was built to divert water from the Volga River to alleviate the water shortage problem.
The Ural River also splits into the Yaik and Zolotoy distributaries close to its mouth, allowing the formation of vast wetlands. It has also led to forming of a prominent digitate delta, which usually forms in slow rivers carrying large amounts of sediments.
The Ural Size
The Ural is 1,509 miles (2,428 km) long and drains an area of 91,500 square miles (237,000 square km).
The Ural River's water source is mainly supplied by the melting water of snow and ice in the Ural Mountains, which constitutes about 60% to 70%, while precipitation is a minor source. There are many spring floods. Navigation to Uralsk is possible from November to April during the freezing period. The river's source freezes in early November, while the middle and lower reaches of the river freeze in late November. The lower reaches melt in late March, while the upper reaches melt in early April.
The significance of the Ural River basin to the Eurasian region's vitality has been recognized for a long time. More than four million people in Kazakhstan and Russia live in the Ural river basin. With the intensification and expansion of human activities, the Ural River Basin's water resources and natural environment have been polluted and destroyed. Kazakhstan and Russia will jointly set up a joint expert group to study the hydrological status of the Ural River, conduct research on the ecological environment, and formulate plans to improve the ecological environment of the Ural River.