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Ob River, river of central Russia. One of the biggest rivers of Asia, the Ob flows north and west throughout western Siberia in a twisting diagonal from its sources in the Altai Mountains to its outlet via the Gulf of Ob right into the Kara Sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is a significant transport artery, crossing area at the heart of Russia that is extraordinarily varied in its physical environment and populace. Even permitting for the barrenness of much of the region surrounding the reduced course of the river and the ice-clogged waters into which it discharges, the Ob drains an area of great economic potential.


The Ob and also Yenisey river basins and also their drainage networks.
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The Ob proper is created by the junction of the Biya and also Katun rivers, in the foothills of the Siberian sector of the Altai, from which it has a course of 2,268 miles (3,650 km). If, yet, the Irtysh River is pertained to as part of the primary course fairly than as the Ob’s major tributary, the maximum length, from the source of the Babsence (Chorny) Irtysh in China’s sector of the Altai, is 3,362 miles (5,410 km), making the Ob the seventh longest river in the people. The catchment location is approximately 1,150,000 square miles (2,975,000 square km). Constituting about fifty percent of the drainage basin of the Kara Sea, the Ob’s catchment location is the sixth biggest in the civilization.

Physical features


The West Siberian Plain covers about 85 percent of the Ob basin. The remainder of the basin comprises the terraced levels of Turgay (Kazakhstan) and also the small hills of northernmost Kazakhstan in the southern and also the Kuznetsk Alatau array, the Salair Ridge, the Altai Mountains and also their foothills and outliers in the southeastern.

Tright here are more than 1,900 rivers within the basin, through an accumulation length of around 112,000 miles (180,000 km). The Irtysh, a left-financial institution tributary 2,640 miles (4,250 km) lengthy, itself drains around 615,000 square miles (1,593,000 square km; a somewhat larger location than that drained by the top and middle Ob above the Irtysh confluence); and some 70 percent of the totality basin is drained by left-financial institution tributaries.

The astronomical basin of the Ob stretches throughout a number of organic areas. Semidesert prevails in the far southern around Lake Zaysan (recipient of the Babsence Irtysh and resource of the Irtysh proper), bordered on the north by steppe grassland also. The main regions of the West Siberian Plain—i.e., more than fifty percent of the basin—consist of taiga (swampy coniferous forest), through good expanses of marshland also. In the north tbelow are vast stretches of tundra (low-lying, cold-tolerant vegetation).

The upper Ob runs from the junction of the Biya and also Katun to the confluence of the Tom River, the middle Ob from the junction through the Tom to the Irtysh confluence, and the reduced Ob from the junction via the Irtysh to the Gulf of Ob.

The Biya and also the Katun both rise in the Altai Mountains: the former in Lake Teallows, the latter to the south among the glaciers of Mount Belukha. From their junction near Biysk the top Ob at first flows westward, receiving the Peschanaya, Anuy, and Charysh rivers from the left; in this reach, the river has actually low banks of alluvium, a bed studded via islands and also shoals, and an average gradient of 1 foot per mile (20 cm per km). From the Charysh confluence the top Ob flows northward on its means to Barnaul, receiving an additional left-bank tributary, the Aley River, and widening its floodsimple as the valley widens. Turning westward aobtain at Barnaul, the river receives a right-financial institution tributary, the Chumysh River, from the Salair Ridge. The valley there is 3 to 6 miles (5 to 10 km) wide, via steeper ground on the left than on the right; the floodsimple is comprehensive and characterized by diversionary branches of the river and by lakes; the bed is still full of shoals; and the gradient is lessened, but the depth rises markedly. At Kamen-na-Obi, yet, where the river starts to bfinish northeastward, the width of the valley shrinks to 2 to 3 miles (3 to 5 km). Just over Novosibirsk one more right-bank tributary, the Inya River, joins the upper Ob; and also a dam at Novosibirsk forms the expensive Novosibirsk Reservoir. Below Novosibirsk, wbelow the river leaves the area of forest steppe to enter a zone of aspen and also birch forest, both valley and floodsimple expand notably till, at the confluence via the Tom River, they are, respectively, 12 and also 3 or even more miles (19 and also 5 or even more km) wide. The depth of the upper Ob (at low water) varies in between 6.5 and 20 feet (2 and 6 metres).

The middle Ob starts wright here the Tom flows right into the main stream, from the best. Taking at first a northwesterly course, the river thereafter becomes a lot deeper and also larger, specifically after receiving its mightiest right-financial institution tributary, the Chulym, quickly listed below the confluence of the Shegarka River from the left. Successive tributaries alengthy the northwesterly course, after the Chulym, include the Chaya and also the Parabel (both left), the Ket (right), the Vasyugan (left), and the Tym and Vakh rivers (both right). Down to the Vasyugan confluence the river passes through the southerly belt of the taiga, thereafter entering the middle belt. Below the Vakh confluence the middle Ob changes its course from northwesterly to westerly and receives more tributaries: the Tromyegan (right), the Great (Bolshoy) Yugan (left), the Lyamin (right), the Great Salym (left), the Nazym (right), and ultimately, at Khanty-Mansiysk, the Irtysh (left). In its course through the taiga, the middle Ob has a minimal gradient, a valley widening to 18 to 30 miles (29 to 48 km) wide, and a correspondingly expanding floodplain—12 to 18 miles (19 to 29 km) wide. In this component of its course, the Ob flows in a facility network-related of networks, through the main bed widening from less than 1 mile (around 1 km) on the higher reaches to practically 2 miles (3 km) at the confluence via the Irtysh and coming to be progressively complimentary of shoals. Low-water depths differ in between 13 and also 26 feet (4 and 8 metres). At high water tbelow are excellent floods yearly, occasionally spanalysis 15 or even 50 miles (24 to 80 km) across the valley and lasting from two to 3 months.

From its start at the confluence of the Irtysh, the reduced Ob flows to the northwest as far as Peregrebnoye and also after that to the north, crossing the north belt of the taiga till it enters the zamong forest tundra in the vicinity of its delta. The valley is wide, through slopes steeper on the ideal than on the left, and the substantial floodplain—12 to 18 miles (19 to 29 km) wide—is crisscrossed by the braided channels of the river and dotted via lakes. Below Peregrebnoye the river divides itself right into two main channels: the Great (Bolshaya) Ob, which receives the Kazym and Kunovat rivers from the appropriate, and the Little (Malaya) Ob, which receives the Northern (Severnaya) Sosva, the Vogulka, and also the Synya rivers from the left. These main networks are reunited below Shuryshkary into a solitary stream that is approximately 12 miles (19 km) wide and also 130 feet (40 metres) deep; but after the confluence of the Poluy (from the right) the river branches out aget to form a delta, the two principal arms of which are the Khamanelsk Ob, which receives the Shchuchya from the left, and the Nadym Ob, which is the even more substantial of the pair. At the base of the delta lies the Gulf of Ob, which is some 500 miles (800 km) lengthy and has a width getting to 50 miles (80 km); the gulf’s own catchment location (woodland tundra and also tundra proper) is even more than 40,000 square miles (105,000 square km).

Climate and hydrology

The Ob basin has actually brief, heat summers and also lengthy, cold winters. Typical January temperatures array from −18 °F (−28 °C) on the shores of the Kara Sea to 3 °F (−16 °C) in the upper reaches of the Irtysh. July temperatures for the exact same areas, respectively, selection from 40 °F (4 °C) to over 68 °F (20 °C). The absolute maximum temperature, in the arid southern, is 104 °F (40 °C), and also the minimum, in the Altai Mountains, is −76 °F (−60 °C). Rainautumn, which occurs greatly in the summer, avereras less than 16 inches (400 mm) per year in the north, 20 to 24 inches (500–600 mm) in the taiga zone, and 12 to 16 inches (300–400 mm) on the steppes. The western slopes of the Altai obtain as a lot as 62 inches (1,575 mm) per year. Scurrently cover lasts for 240 to 270 days in the north and also for 160 to 170 days in the southern. It is deepest in the woodland zone, wright here it varieties from 24 to 36 inches (60–90 cm), and also in the hills, wright here it avereras 80 inches (200 cm) per year. It is a lot shalreduced on the tundra, varying from 12 to 20 inches (30–50 cm), and very thin on the steppe, wbelow 8 to 16 inches (20–40 cm) fall.

On the upper Ob the spring floods begin early in April, as soon as the scurrently on the plains is melting; and also they have a second phase, ensuing from the melting of scurrently on the Altai Mountains. The middle Ob, scarcely influenced by the top Ob’s phases, has one constant spring-summer period of high water, which begins in mid April. For the reduced Ob, high water begins in late April or early May. Levels, in truth, start to rise as soon as the watercourse is still obstructed by ice; and maximum levels, which happen by May on the upper Ob, may not be reached until June, July, or also August on the reduced reaches. For the top Ob, the spring floods finish by July, yet autumn rains bring high water aacquire in September and also October; in the middle and lower Ob, the spring and also summer floodwaters progressively recede till freezing sets in. On the reduced reaches, flooding may last four months. Flooding of the Ob correct and of the Irtysh obstructs the minor tributaries’ drainage.

Ice forms on the Ob from the end of October to the second week of November, after which the reduced reaches start to freeze solid. By the last week of November the whole river is frozen; the top reaches remain frozen for some 150 days, the lower for 220. The thawing of the ice—which takes longer than the freezing—lasts from the finish of April (upstream) to the end of May, and also the spring drift (around 5 days in duration) produces substantial ice jams. The distinction in level between high water and low is 25 feet (8 metres) at Novosibirsk on the top Ob; it reaches 43 feet (13 metres) at Aleksandrovskoye on the middle Ob yet decreases to no more than 20 feet (6 metres) at Salektough close to the mouth. The water is warmest in July, reaching a maximum of 82 °F (28 °C) in the vicinity of Barnaul.

The Ob has actually the third best discharge of Siberia’s rivers, after the Yenisey and also the Lena. On average, it pours some 95 cubic miles (400 cubic km) of water every year into the Arctic Ocean—about 12 percent of that ocean’s complete intake from drainage.

The volume of flow at Salekhard, just over the delta, is about 1,500,000 cubic feet (42,000 cubic metres) per second at its maximum and also 70,000 cubic feet (2,000 cubic metres) per second at its minimum, while for Barnaul, on the upper Ob, the equivalent figures are 340,000 and 5,700 cubic feet (9,600 and 200 cubic metres) per second. The average annual discharge rate at the river’s mouth is around 448,500 cubic feet (12,700 cubic metres) per second. Most of the water comes from the melting of seasonal snow and from rainfall; much less of it comes from groundwater, hill snow, and also glaciers.

The waters of the Ob are just slightly mineralized: dissolved substances account for an annual outpouring of 30.2 million lots right into the Kara Sea. The average amount of solid matter discharged each year by the Ob totals only around 50 million tons.

Plant and also animal life

Rich meadows extfinish in bands 1 to 2 miles (2 to 3 km) wide for great ranges alengthy the financial institutions of the Ob and also cover many of the plenty of islands. Pine, cedar, silver fir, aspen, and also birch also grow on the financial institutions and also occasionally constitute isolated woodlands on the greater ground of the floodsimple. Large areas near the river are extended through willow, snowsphere trees (Viburnum), bird cherry (Prunus padus), buckthorn (Hippophaë), currant bushes, and wild roses.

Of some 50 species of fish discovered in the river or in the gulf, the the majority of helpful financially are numerous arrays of sturgeon and also such “whitefish” as nelma (Stenodus leucichthys nelma), muksunlight (Coregonus muksun), tschirr (C. nasus), and peled (C. pelea); pike, burbot, Siberian dace, carp, and also perch are also captured. The seasonal ice cover, however, causes depletion of oxygen in the water, killing many fish eexceptionally winter in the reaches in between the Tym confluence and also the delta.

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Fur-bearing mammals of the Ob valley encompass European and Siberian mole, Siberian and also Amerihave the right to mink, ermine, fox, wolf (in the taiga), elk, white hare, water rat, muskrat, otter, and also beaver. Amongst more than 170 species of birds breeding in the floodsimple are grousage, partridge, goose, and also duck.