Yenisei River

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Yenisei (Russian: Енисе́й), also written as Yenisey[2], is the greatest river system flowing to the Arctic Ocean. Rising in Mongolia, it follows a northerly course to the Yenisei Gulf in the Kara Sea, draining a large part of central Siberia, the longest stream following the Yenisei-Angara-Selenga-Ider.

The upper reaches, subject to rapids and flooding, pass through sparsely populated areas. The middle section is controlled by a series of massive hydroelectric dams fuelling significant Russian primary industry. Partly built by gulag labor in Soviet times, industrial contamination remains a serious problem in an area hard to police. Moving on through sparsely-populated taiga, the Yenisei swells with numerous tributaries and finally reaches the Kara Sea in desolate tundra where it is icebound for more than half the year.

The maximum depth of the Yenisei River is 80 feet (24 m) and the average depth is 45 feet (14 m). The depth of river outflow is 106 feet (32 m) and inflow is 101 feet (31 m).

Contents

Upper Yenisei

See also:

Lake Baikal headwater

The 320 km (200 mi) partly navigable Upper Angara River feeds into the northern end of Lake Baikal from the Buryat Republic but the largest inflow is from the Selenga which forms a delta on the south-eastern side. The longest tributaries rise on the eastern slopes of central Mongolia's Khangai Mountains. Another tributary, the Tuul passes through the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator while the Egiin Gol drains Lake Khövsgöl(500 km) downstream, where the 124 m (407 ft) dam built in the 1960s produces 4500 MW. The resultant reservoir is nicknamed Dragon Lake because of its outline. The tributary Oka and Iya rivers, which rise on the north slopes of the Eastern Sayan Mountains, form the 'jaws' and 400 km (250 mi) of the Angara forms the 'tail'. There are newer dams almost as large at Ust-Ilimsk 250 km (155 mi) downstream (also damming the tributary Ilim river) and Boguchany a further 400 km (250 mi) downstream (not operational). Further dams are planned but the environmental consequences of completely taming the Angara are leading to protests which may prevent funding.

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