To the source of the Amur: the Shilka River and the Argun River
Amur is one of the largest river systems of the planet. It carries its waters into the But the beginning of the Amur is considered to be the point at which two other natural watercourses merge. These are the Shilka and Argun rivers. We will tell about them in our article.
Where the cupid begins
The problem of determining the sources of rivers is quite complicated. After all, it is impossible to say precisely and unambiguously where exactly one or another watercourse begins. One can realize the whole depth of this geographical problem by one interesting fact. So, the longest river of the planet in some sources is called the Nile, and in others - the Amazon. And the stumbling block in this situation is precisely the problem of the location of the source point of the Amazon water system.
In the XIX century, the source of the Amur was considered the Chinese river Hailar. Nowadays, the place where it began is called the point where the Shilka River merges with the Argun River. This place is located on the border of Russia and China (in the satellite image below you can see how it looks).The geographical coordinates of this point are: 53 ° 20 ′ 00 ″ north latitude, 121 ° 28 ′ 53 ″ east longitude; altitude: 304 meters above sea level.
In the picture we see two watercourses: on the top - the Shilka River, on the bottom - the Argun. In the place of their confluence a small island with the unusual name Mad was formed. Its length is only 800 meters. It is on the eastern outskirts of this tiny island and the great Amur River originates.
Shilka River - Trans-Baikal Territory Pearl
Shilka is a beautiful river with wild and almost undeveloped banks. Almost throughout its course, the mountainous character is different: high banks, massive boulders, sometimes rapids and waterfalls. Only in some places the mountains recede far from the banks of the watercourse.
The length of the Shilka River is 560 kilometers. Its source, as in the case of Amur, is also the site of the confluence of two other watercourses (see map below). These are the rivers Onon and Ingoda, flowing down from the same highland Khentei. Together with Onon, the length of Shilka reaches 1,455 km.
The word “Shilka” can be translated from the Evenk (Tungus) language as “a wide river in a narrow valley”.In ancient times, Shilka was called a mysterious and mysterious river. It was believed that untold riches and unprecedented treasures were hidden on its banks.
In the upstream, the Shilka River flows among bare hills and treeless valleys. But after Sretensk its course is trapped in a powerful grip of high rocky shores. In the lower reaches of Shilka, the banks of the river “overgrow” with dense taiga forests.
Hydrology and economic use of Shilka
The river is characterized by low water content: the average water consumption at the mouth is 550 cubic meters m / s Power Shilka mainly rain (about 85%). In severe winters in the middle reaches of the river freezes. Shilka is navigable from the mouth to the town of Sretensk. During the navigation period, motor boats and small motor ships actively move along the river bed.
In economic terms, the Shilka River is hardly used by humans. In its basin there are large deposits of gold and other non-ferrous metals. In the 1980s, a project was constructed for the construction of a hydroelectric station on the river with an estimated average annual output of 2.9 billion kWh of energy. However, the collapse of the USSR prevented the implementation of this project.
The largest settlements on the banks of the Shilka are Sretensk, Nerchinsk and the city of the same name Shilka. Some villages and villages along the river bank (in Ust-Karsk, Bota, Gorbitsu, Chalbuchi) can be reached only by water.
Argun River: length, hydrology and origin of the name
Argun originates in China. The total length of the river is 1620 km, two thirds of which falls on the Russian-Chinese border. In the middle reaches, the Argun has a rather wide valley, which closer to the mouth noticeably narrows. The watercourse is fed mainly by rainwater, by the end of November, as a rule, it freezes. Navigation on the river is irregular.
The Chinese call this river Hailar, and the Mongols call Urgene. Translated from the Mongolian language, it means "wide." For the Mongols, the Argun is a sacred river. After all, it was on its shores that this people gained its strength.
According to legend, the Mongol tribes were destroyed by other warlike tribes. Only four of them managed to escape - two men and two women. They hid from their enemies on the banks of the Argun. Over time, the fugitives began to breed cattle and master the blacksmith's craft.Subsequently, the Mongols multiplied and were able to defeat all their enemies.
The Argun River is famous for the diversity and species richness of its ichthyofauna. It is not for nothing that they call the fish pantry of the Far East. More than 60 species of fish live in Argun. Among them are grass carp, carp, chum and others.