Sayan Mountains

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Coordinates: 53°15′07″N 94°58′28″E / 53.25194°N 94.97444°E / 53.25194; 94.97444

Western Sayan, Ergaki mountains

The Sayan Mountains (Russian: Саяны, Sayany; Mongolian: Саяаны нуруу; Kokmen Mountains during the period of the Göktürks[1]) are a mountain range in southern Siberia, Russia.

The Eastern Sayan extends 1,000 km (621 mi) from the Yenisei River at 92° E to the southwest end of Lake Baikal at 106° E. The Western Sayan forms the eastern continuation of the Altay Mountains, stretching for 500 km (311 mi) from 89° E to the middle of the Eastern Sayan at 96° E. [2]

The Sayan Mountains' towering peaks and cool lakes southwest of Tuva give rise to the tributaries that merge to become one of Siberia's major rivers, the Yenisei River, which flows north over 2000 miles to the Arctic Ocean. This is a protected and isolated area, having been kept closed by the Soviet Union since 1944.[3]

Contents

Geography

While the general elevation is 2000 to 2,700 m (8,858 ft), granites and metamorphic slates reach altitudes of over 3,000 m (9,843 ft), with the highest being Munku-Sardyk at 3,492 m (11,457 ft). The principal mountain passes lie 1800 to 2,300 m (7,546 ft) above the sea, for example Muztagh pass at 2,280 m (7,480 ft), Mongol pass at 1,980 m (6,496 ft), Tenghyz pass at 2,280 m (7,480 ft) and Obo-sarym pass at 1,860 m (6,102 ft).

At 92°E the system (the Western Sayan) is pierced by the Ulug-Khem (Russian: Улуг-Хем) or Upper Yenisei River, and at 106°, at its eastern extremity, it terminates above the depression of the Selenga-Orkhon Valley. From the Mongolian plateau the ascent is on the whole gentle, but from the plains of Siberia it is much steeper, despite the fact that the range is masked by a broad belt of subsidiary ranges of an Alpine character, e.g. the Usinsk, Oya, Tunka and Kitoi ranges.

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