Siberia is a geographically extensive region that spans much of North Asia and Eurasia. This region has historically been part of Russia since the 16th century. The Siberian territory extends from the Ural Mountains eastward to the watershed between Arctic drainage basin and the Pacific. It is divided into two—Eastern Siberia and Western Siberia—by the Yenisei River. The region covers an area of approximately 5.1 million square miles, accounting for about 77% of Russia’s land area. However, it is home to only 27% of the country’s total population or 36 million people. With a population density of 7.8 persons per square mile, Siberia is one of the world’s most sparsely populated areas. Apart from Yenisei River, several rivers flow through the region including the Ob River and the Lena River.
Yenisei River is the largest river system that flows into the Arctic Ocean. It has a maximum length of 2,132 miles. The river has a maximum depth of 80 feet and an average depth of 45 feet. The Yenisei River rises in Mongolia and flows northwards through Khakassia, Tuva, and the city of Krasnoyarsk into the Yenisei Gulf in the Kara Sea. Along its course, the river is joined by Angara, Tuba, Podkamennaya Tunguska, and Nizhnyaya Tunguska Rivers. This river drains a large area of central Siberia. Yenesei River basin is home to about 55 native species of fish including grayling.
The Ob River is one of the major rivers that flow through Siberia. It is the 7th longest river in the world and flows in western Siberia. It forms at the confluence of the Katun and Biya Rivers which both originate from the Atlas Mountains. The Ob River flows entirely within Russia although some of its tributaries extend into China, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. It flows for approximately 2,270 miles from the source to the mouth at the Gulf of Ob, a bay in the Arctic Ocean. The major tributary of the Ob River is Irtysh River which is actually longer from the source to the point of confluence. From the source of Irtysh River in China to the mouth of Ob, the river is Russia’s longest at 2,640 miles. The river is an important source of water for irrigation and hydropower generation. It is also an important fishing ground, hosting over 50 species of fish.
The Lena River is one of the three major rivers of Siberia. It is the easternmost river of the three major Siberian Rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean. The river has a discharge rate of 588 cubic km/year, making it the second largest Arctic river. The Lena River originated from the Baikal Mountains, about 4 miles west of Lake Baikal and flows northeast. It is joined by the Vitim River, Kirenga River, and Olyokma River before entering the lowlands. From the lowlands, the river flows north and is joined by Aldana River and Vilyuy River. From there it flows due north to the Laptev Sea. Lena River Basin is approximately 961,394 square miles.