Although the Siberia region of Russia has high latitude, it is very rich in water resources and is densely populated by rivers, including three large rivers (the Ob, Yenisei, and Lena rivers) that flow from the south to the north and eventually flow into the Arctic Ocean. Among them, the Yenisei River (also spelled Yenisey) is the largest river flowing into the Arctic Ocean and the fifth-longest river in the world.
The Yenisei River originates in Mongolia and flows northward to the Kara Sea in the Arctic Ocean. Its basin covers most of central Siberia. The Yenisei River is the boundary between the West Siberian Plain and the Central Siberian Plateau, with the plain in the west and the plateau in the east. The water flow is even larger than the Mississippi-Missouri River in the United States.
The upper reaches of the Yenisei River are fast, rapid, flooded, and sparsely populated. In the middle and lower reaches, the terrain is flat, the permafrost is widely distributed, and there are many swamps and wetlands. You will find more interesting facts about the Yenisey River.
Yenisei River Introduction
There are two sources of the Yenisei River; one is the Great Yenisei River, located north of the border between Russia and Mongolia; it is all in Russia. The other is the small Yenisei River, which originates west of the Kusugur Lake in northern Mongolia. The Great Yenisei River and the Small Yenisei River converge near Kyzyl, the capital of the Tuva Republic, and the following section is called the Yenisei River. The upper Yenisei River flows through Abakan, Krasnoyarsk, and other cities and joins with an important tributary of the Yenisei, the Angara River, in Novosibirsk.
The mainstream of the Yenisei River has a total length of 3,481 kilometers. And it is 4,086 kilometers with the Great Yenisei as the source; if the small Yenisei River is the source, the river length is 4,044 kilometers; if it is calculated from the Selenga River-Angara River as the source, the total length is 5,539 kilometers.
The Yenisei River basin covers an area of about 2.7 million square kilometers, with a total drop of 1,578 meters and an average annual runoff of 625.5 billion cubic meters at the estuary. And there are about 20,000 large and small tributaries with a total length of 88,000 kilometers. The main tributaries are distributed on the right bank. The basin is mainly composed of mountains and plateaus. The western Siberian plain and the northern Siberian lowlands only account for 6-7% of the basin area; in the middle is the Central Siberia Plateau (700-2200 meters above sea level), and there are mountains in the south, such as Sayan Mountains (3491 meters above sea level).
About half of the Yenisei's water comes from snow, slightly more than one-third from rain, and the rest from groundwater. Floods are easily formed by rainfall in summer and autumn; runoff in winter decreases sharply, but the water level remains high due to ice jams. The midsummer water temperature is between 14-19°C, but the ice begins to freeze downstream in early October and affects the whole river by mid-November; ice jams and underwater ice are its characteristics. The upstream thaw occurred near the end of April, the midstream in May, and the downstream in mid-May-June.
The northern part of the Yenisei River basin has a subarctic climate, and the central and southern parts have a marked continental climate. Most of the rain (80%-90%) falls in the warm season. Due to the small amount of snow in most basins, the surface and subsoils in these areas will freeze quite deep for a long time. Permafrost is widespread north of the Lower Tunguska River.
The Yenisei River has the largest water volume and the most abundant hydropower resources in Russia. The valley form of the Yenisei River and its tributaries is conducive to the development of hydropower resources (especially in the upper and middle reaches). Since the 1950s, power stations have been built in Irkutsk, Bratsk, and Ust-Ilimsk on the Angara River and Krasnoyarsk and Sayan on the upper and middle Yenisei River. Not only is the Yenisei River important for the development of shipping, irrigation, and fishing, but today it is also a popular tourist destination. A cruise on the Yenisei River allows travelers to discover the life and culture of small tribes and indigenous people, step into a permafrost cave, and try Siberian fishing.