The Amur River is a massive river that is located in a region sandwiched by northeastern China and the Russian Far East. The river is also known as the Heilong Jiang, the Black Water, and the Black Dragon River. With a length of about 1,755 miles and a basin size 716,000 square miles, this massive river is the globe’s tenth largest river. The primary sources of the river are in Mongolia, China, and Russia, and the river runs to the Strait of Tartary in the Pacific Ocean.
Name of the River
The name Amur probably originated from the root of the word “water” in Asiatic languages. In the past, it was common practice for people to name a river “water.” In Korean, the word for water is “mul” while water is “muren” in Mongolian.
Course of the River
The river has two primary sources, the Onon River-Shilka River in Mongolia and Russia and the Kherlen River-Ergune River in Mongolia and China. The former river flows at an elevation of about 6,709 feet while the latter on flows at an altitude of around 6,434. The two rivers converge at a height of about 994 feet in the western region of Northeast China. From the confluence, the river then flows east in a direction that makes it part of the border between Russia and China. After that, the river flows in a southeast direction for a length of around 250 miles in a path that comprises of several minor tributaries. One such tributary is the Huma River at Huma in China.
From Huma, the Amur River maintains its southward flow passing through a region that is sandwiched by the Russian city of Blagoveschensk and the Chinese city of Heihe. In this area, the width of the river also increases since the river joins up with another big tributary known as the Zeya River. From this point, the Amur River assumes an eastward direction before making a southeast turn where it meets up with the Bureya River. After that, for about 160 miles, the river does not meet up with any major tributary until the Songhua River in China’s Tongjiang city. The next section after meeting up with the Songhua River flows in a northeastern direction up to Russia’s Khabarovsk City where it converges with the Ussuri River. At this point of convergence, the river stops being a border between the two countries.
The last section of the river takes on a branched direction resembling the roots of a plant. This section flows in a northeast direction passing through places like Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Amursk. After about 120 miles, the river valley narrows before meeting with the Amgun River and then flowing into some plains. The convergence with the Amgun River is followed by an eastward turn before flowing into the bay at Nikolayevsk-on-Amur. Finally, about twelve miles downstream from the bay, the river empties into the Strait of Tartary. The Strait of Tartary connects the Sea of Okhotsk to the north with the Sea of Japan to the south between the Asian mainland and the Russian island of Sakhalin.
The river is unique in that it is the only one that supports subtropical Asia fish (like the snakehead) and Arctic Siberian fish (such as pike). In addition, the river is home to some massive fish species such as the Kaluga, which can grow to lengths of up to 18 feet. Other fish species include Amur catfish, yellowcheek, and Taimen.