Cherskii Range

Cherskii Range


a mountain system in the northeastern part of the USSR, in the Yakut ASSR and Magadan Oblast of the RSFSR. The range was discovered by S. V. Obruchev in 1926 and named in honor of J. Czerski (I. D. Cherskii). It extends from northwest to east-southeast between the Iana-Oimiakon Highland in the southwest and the Moma-Selenniakh intermontane depression in the northeast for a distance of more than 1,500 km.

Numerous ranges stretch in the western part of the Cherskii system, between the lana and Indigirka rivers, including the Khadaran’ia (to 2,185 m), Tas-Khaiakhtakh (2,356 m), Chemalgin (2,547 m), Kurundia (1,919 m), Dogdo (2,272 m), Chibagalakh (2,449 m), Borong (2,681 m), and Siliap (2,703 m) ranges. In the east, in the vicinity of the upper Kolyma, rise the Ulakhan-Chistai (highest point Mount Pobeda, 3,147 m), Cherge (2,332 m), and other ranges. The Moma-Selenniakh intermontane depression and the Selenniakh, Moma, and Garmychan ranges that rise above it to the north are often included in the Cherskii mountain system, although they actually lie north of the system.

The mountains of the Cherskii Range lie within a zone of Mesozoic folding. They are composed of strongly dislocated and metamorphosed Paleozoic carbonate rocks, with Permian, Trias-sic, and Jurassic marine and continental strata (shales, sandstones, and siltstones) along the margin. In some places, the carbonate rocks contain intrusions of granitoids, with which are associated deposits of gold, tin, and other minerals.

The principal features of the modern relief have been formed by recent tectonic movements. Typical of the relief is the alternation of horsts, separated by intermontane grabens. Medium-elevation mountains predominate, although some sections rise to 2,000–2,500 m and are characterized by an alpine relief with modern glaciers (the Ulakhan-Chistai, Chibagalakh, and other ranges). More than 350 valley, cirque, and hanging glaciers, with a total area of 156.2 sq km, are known.

The climate is severe and sharply continental. The average January temperatures vary from –34° to –40°C, reaching –60°C in depressions. Summers are short and cool, with frequent frost and snowfalls. The mean July temperature varies from 3°C in the high mountains to 12°–13°C in a number of valleys. Annual precipitation varies between 300 and 600–700 mm a year; as much as 70–75 percent occurs in the summer. Permafrost covers the entire region.

Many rivers, among them the Indigirka and its tributaries, cut across the ranges in narrow, frequently antecedent, valleys. The Moma and Selenniakh rivers flow in intermontane basins through broad, sometimes marshy valleys. The rivers are fed by melting snow and summer rains. More than 60 percent of the annual runoff occurs in the summer. The runoff of the large rivers in the winter is not more than 5 percent of the annual total. Many of the smaller rivers freeze down to the bottom. Aufeis is widespread.

The soil and vegetation cover is comparatively uniform. Tall floodplain forests of poplar and Chosenia grow on the bottom of the river valleys. Sparse larch forests, usually marshy, grow on the lower part of the slopes to elevations of 250–300 m in the north and to 700–1,100 m in the south. As much as 80 percent of the Cherskii system is covered by vegetation of the high-mountain zone—thickets of dwarf stone pine and alder, and rock, lichen, and shrub tundra. Cold stony deserts are found on the summits of the highest range.


Gvozdetskii, N. A., and N. I. Mikhailov. Fizicheskaia geografiia SSSR, [vol. 2]: Aziatskaia chast’. Moscow, 1970.


Cherskii Range


a mountain range in Transbaikalia, in Chita Oblast, RSFSR. The Cherskii Range extends for a length of 400 km, from the upper Olengui River to the Olekma River, near the mouth of the Ul’durga River. The Ingoda River cuts across the range near the city of Chita. The mountains rise to elevations of 1,400–1,500 m. They are composed of granites, with effusive and sedimentary rocks in some places. The slopes and summits are covered with pine and larch forests. Spruce-fir-cedar taiga is encountered in deep valleys on the northern slopes. The range is named after J. Czerski (I. D. Cherskii).