Indigirka


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Indigirka

(ēndyĭgēr`kə), river, NE Siberian Russia, in the Sakha Republic. It rises in the Oymyakon plateau and flows c.1,100 mi (1,770 km) N into the Arctic Ocean. It is navigable (June–September) from its confluence with the Moma River to the Arctic Ocean.

Indigirka

 

a river in the Yakut ASSR. Length, 1,726 km; basin area, 360,000 sq km. It originates from two sources—the Khastakh and Taryn-Iuriakh rivers on the northern slopes of the Khalkan Mountain Range—and empties into the East Siberian Sea. The Indigirka River basin is situated in a region of perennially frozen rock, as a result of which massive ice layers are characteristic of its rivers.

In terms of the structure of its valley and channel and the speed of the current, the Indigirka is divided into two sections: upper mountain (640 km) and lower plain (1,086 km). After the confluence of the Khastakh and Taryn-Iuriakh rivers the Indigirka flows northwest along the lowest part of the Oimiakon Plateau. Turning northward, it cuts through a number of mountain chains of the Cherskii Mountain Range. Here the width of the valley ranges from 0.5-1 to 20 km. The channel is gravelly with many shoals. The current flows at a speed of 2-3.5 m/sec. Intersecting the Chemalgin Mountain Range, the Indigirka flows through a deep canyon and forms rapids. Here the speed of the current is 4 m/sec. This section is not even suitable for floating timber. In its upper course the Indigirka is joined by its main tributaries: the Kuidusun, Kiuente, and El’gi from the left and the Nera from the right. The lower section begins above the mouth of the Moma River, where the Indigirka enters into the Moma-Selenniakh Depression. Indigirka’s valley widens, and the channel abounds in shoals and bars. In certain areas the channel splits up into branches. Rounding the Moma Mountain Range, the Indigirka flows along a low-lying plain. It is very winding in the Abyi Lowland; in the Iana-Indigirka Lowland long straight stretches measuring 350-500 m wide are characteristic. The main tributaries in the lower course are the Moma and the Badiarikha on the right and the Selenniakh and the Uiandina on the left. The Indigirka splits up into branches 130 km from its mouth (the main ones are the Russkoe Ust’e, the Srednii [the largest], and the Kolyma), forming a delta (5,500 sq km. in area). The mouth of the Indigirka is separated from the sea by a shallow bar.

The Indigirka is fed by rain and melted water (from snow, ice, and glaciers). High water occurs during the warm periods of the year. Runoff in the spring totals 32 percent; in the summer, 52 percent; and in the fall, approximately 16 percent. During the winter the river freezes over, and in places remains frozen to its bed (Krest-Maior, Chokurdakh), thus reducing the runoff to below 1 percent. The mean flow rate at Ust’-Nera is 428 cu m/sec with a maximum of 10,600 cu m/sec; for Voronotsov the average and maximum flow rates are 1,570 cu m/sec and 11,500 cu m/sec, respectively. Water levels fluctuate between 7.5 and 11.2 m; the highest levels are in June and the beginning of July. Annual runoff at the mouth of the river totals 58.3 cu km; solid discharge totals 13.7 million tons. The river freezes in October; the ice breaks up from late May to early June. The Indigirka has abundant stocks of fish. At the mouth there is fishing for European cisco (Coregonus albula), broad whitefish (Coregonus nasus), muksun (Coregonus muksuri), inconnu (Stenodus leu-cichthys nelma), and arctic cisco (Coregonus autumnalis). The river is navigable from the mouth of the Moma River (1,086 km). Main landings are Khonuu, Druzhina, Chokurdakh, and Tabor. Gold is mined in the Indigirka River basin.

REFERENCES

Davydov, L. K. Gidrografiia SSSR, part 2. Leningrad, 1955.
Zalogin, B. S., and N. A. Rodionov. Ust’evye oblasti rek SSSR. Moscow, 1969.
Domanitskii, A. P., R. G. Dubrovina, and A. I. Isaeva. Reki i ozera Sovetskogo Soiuza. Leningrad, 1971.

K. G. TKHOTSKTT