12 julio, 2024

Amur River: characteristics, route, tributaries, flora, fauna

He amur river It is a river system located in western Asia. It is considered an international basin, since it covers part of the territory of Mongolia, Russia and China. With a length of 2,824 km, the Amur ranks tenth among the longest rivers in the world.

The Amur River bathes an approximate area of ​​1,855,000 km2, of which 54% belongs to Russia, 44.2% corresponds to the Republic of China and the remaining 1.8% is located in the territory of Mongolia. It has an average flow of 10,900 m3/s that decreases dramatically in winter to a maximum of 200 m3/s, due to the freezing effect of the channel.



Originally, the Amur River Basin was populated by native Burats, Yarkuts, Nanai, Nivjis, Udegeys, Orok, as well as Mughal and Manchu groups.

Between 1644 and 1911, Manchu tribes living south of the river conquered China and established the Qing dynasty, exercising sovereignty over the entire territory of the basin.

Around the 17th century, Soviet explorers and traders began to settle on the north bank of the Amur River, causing friction and tension between the governments of the Soviet Union and China. As a solution, in 1689 both nations signed the Treaty of Nerchinsk, where China’s sovereignty over the Amur River basin was confirmed.

These conditions were maintained until 1858 when both nations signed new conditions established in the Treaty of Aigún. In this treaty, China ceded the rights over the territories on the north bank of the Amur River to the Soviet Union, as well as its rights over the Sikhote-Alin mountains.

In 1860 the First Peking Convention was held. As a consequence of the end of the second Opium War, China signed agreements with the United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union. In the document agreed with the Soviet Union, it ceded part of Outer Manchuria and the current territory of the Ussuriysk Krai.

At the end of World War II, tensions between China and the Soviet Union escalated. In 1969 there was an armed conflict that took place on the banks of the Ussuri River.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Chinese and Russian governments have made sustained efforts to achieve greater political and economic collaboration for the development of the Amur border region.

Characteristics of the Amur River

One of the most striking aspects of the Amur basin is its relative anonymity. Its distance from the West has made it go virtually unnoticed, despite its importance for local ecosystems and economies.


The climate in the Amur River basin is affected by monsoon winds coming from the east and polar air masses coming from the north. It presents variations of up to 51° C between winter and summer.

In winter it reaches minimum temperatures of -33° C in the northern extremes of the basin. In summer it reaches the highest temperatures, presenting its maximum in July with temperatures of up to 22°C due to the influence of subtropical winds.

During the summer, more than half of the total annual rainfall that falls on the basin occurs. Its distribution is uneven: between 600 and 900 mm to the south and in areas close to the sea; a maximum of 600 mm in its central section and between 300 and 400 mm to the north.


The Amur is a river of pluvial feeding. These come mainly from the monsoon rains. Upon reaching the river, the rainwater produces floods that last from May to October. The Amur River reaches its minimum levels between April and March.

Traditionally it produces floods in the plains and swamps, however, in years with particularly high rainfall rates it has come to overflow in areas where it flows through channels, causing significant economic losses.

In spring it presents a second minor flood, caused by the melting of the snow that fell during the winter along its channel.

In the following video you can see the Amur River from satellite images:

Source, route and mouth

The Amur River rises in northwestern Mongolia in the Khentii Mountains, at the confluence of the Shilka and Argun rivers. In general, it flows in a west-east direction until its mouth in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk.

The Amur basin is divided into three parts: upper, middle and lower.

upper amur

This section is 883 km long, stretching from its source in the Khentii Mountains to the mouth of the Zeya River in the Siberian city of Blagoveshchensk, in Russian territory.

In this section, the Amur flows through the valley formed between the Da Hinggan range to the north, and the Amarzar range to the south. Near the Russian village of Albazino, in the Skovorodinsky district, the Amur leaves the valley and crosses an open plateau to reach the refounded resort town of Yermakovo in Krasnoyarsk Krai, flowing between water-carved rocky cliffs .

middle amur

It goes from the mouth of the Zeya River to the mouth of the Ussuri River, in the Russian city of Khabarovsk. It extends for approximately 975 km, making it the longest section of the Amur.

It begins in the Zeya-Bureya depression and flows into the rolling plain bordering the Xiao Hinggan Range. Upon receiving the waters of the Bureya River, the Amur heads north and crosses the Xiao Hinggan Mountain Range through a narrow gorge that considerably increases the speed of its waters.

Leaving the mountain range, it enters a floodplain, where it flows through channels, forming ponds and lakes in its path. It runs in the vicinity of Leninskoye, in the Arkharinsky district –located in the Amur Oblast- and Khabarovsk, until it receives the waters of the Ussuri River.

lower amur

This section has a length of 966 km. It crosses the Ussuri River estuary to its mouth in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, crossing the town of Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, in Khabarovsk Krai.

Receiving the waters of the Ussuri River, the Amur stretches in a labyrinthine fashion through a swampy valley through channels and branches, forming countless islands and sandbanks. During the flood season this valley floods, forming a single large lake that extends to the vicinity of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, also located in Khabarovsk.

Passing the city of Komsomolsk, the Amur flows through a forested valley of 145 km. At its outlet it bathes a swampy terrain forming two large lakes: the Kizi and the Udyl. After receiving the Amgun river, it forms a 50 km wide estuary through which it flows into the sea.


Agricultural practices on the lands of the Amur basin have produced the contamination of the water that flows into the sea. The condition of the water harms not only plant and animal species, but also makes its use for human consumption unfeasible due to its high levels of toxicity.

In 2005, the Amur suffered the consequences of an accidental spill of chemicals. The event directly affected one of its tributaries, the Songhua River in Jilin province, in Chinese territory.

An explosion at a chemical plant spilled an estimated 100 tons of waste into the river. As a consequence, the Chinese government had to suspend the intake of water from the Songhua, which supplied approximately 3.8 million people, in addition to undertaking campaigns to clean and decontaminate this important tributary of the Amur.

Various activities that are considered dangerous for the environment take place in the Amur basin, including mining, synthetic rubber processing, oil and paper pulp.

The chemicals present in the waters and sediments of the basin that cause conservationists the most concern are benzene, pyrene, nitrobenzene, and mercury.

The governments of China and Russia are working together to monitor the quality of the water in the Amur basin, to reduce its pollution and reduce the impact of its waters on the ecosystems of the Pacific Ocean.


Fishing is the main economic activity that takes place around the Amur River. This activity was the way of subsistence and the main factor that shaped the life of the native ethnic groups of the region.

At present, fishing is developed in parallel to the commercial activity that is carried out by river thanks to the installation of a large number of ports on the Amur and its tributaries.

These ports are available for navigation in the months that its course is not frozen and there are no ice jams.

The economic activities carried out on the Amur River and its fluvial transit were affected by diplomatic tensions between China and Russia, especially in the period between 1960 and 1990.

The signing of agreements has promoted binational collaboration for the expansion of projects related to navigation, agriculture and the exploitation of hydroelectric potential.

ecological risks

Between 1950 and 1990 the forests in the Amur basin, located in northern China, suffered voracious deforestation. On the one hand, the wood was used for domestic supply; and on the other hand, burning prepared the soil for agricultural use.

The autumn rains of 1998 were exceptionally heavy, resulting in large floods in the area. The absence of vegetation made it impossible to absorb water, causing large floods that accounted for numerous human and material losses. From this event, the Chinese government set its sights on caring for the forests, working hard to prevent floods.

In a highly competitive market, Russia began clearing its eastern forests to meet demand from its Asian neighbor without regard to the role of vegetation in preventing flooding and erosion.

Another problem affecting the basin is overfishing. Two species of sturgeon present in the Amur have great commercial value and have been listed as endangered species.

The remaining specimens are not capable of reproducing fast enough to meet the needs of the world market. Added to this is legal and illegal fishing, concentrated mainly in the middle and lower reaches of the Amur.

The construction of new dams for flood control and hydroelectric production are other concerns that unite the wills of conservationists in the river basin. The control of the Amur riverbed and its tributaries puts the conservation of the fauna and flora of the ecosystems at risk, with the wetlands being the most vulnerable.

The reservoirs reduce the oxygenation of the water and prevent the transit of aquatic species with migratory behaviors to their mating and spawning sites, putting the survival of these species at risk.

Main cities that the Amur River runs through

It is estimated that by 2008, approximately 75 million people lived in the Amur river basin. Its distribution is uneven, since 93% of the population is concentrated in Chinese territory. Currently the indigenous population is prolific, being located mainly in the Durian steppe and to the east…

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