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Angara

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Updated: 09.10.2003

River, southeast-central Russia.

The outlet for Lake Baikal, Angara, 1,105 mi (1,779 km), is a major tributary of the Yenisey River, which it joins near Yeniseysk. After leaving the southwestern end of Lake Baikal it flows north past the cities Irkutsk and Bratsk, then turns west after receiving the Ilim River and flows into the Yenisei River near Strelka. Below its junction with the Ilim River the Angara is known also as the Upper Tunguska (Rus. Verkhnyaya Tunguska). The Angara is navigable between Irkutsk and Bratsk; below Bratsk there are many rapids.

Angara River outlet from Lake Baikal. Many species of fish and plants only exist in this place, such as fresh water seals.

There is a large dam with one of the world's largest hydroelectric power plants (ca. 4,500 MW) at Bratsk ; a smaller (660 MW) hydroelectric station is at Irkutsk. Two other dams span the river, making it one of the world's greatest sources of hydroelectric power.

Angara carries on average about 60 cubic km of water out of Baikal annually. Its breadth is about 1 km. Maximum depth - 4-6 m.

The cliff "Shaman Stone" is never covered by water in the middle of the riverbed at the source. The river Angara, its fauna, the main part of which contained endemic baikalian species, have dramatically changed. The major factors are: sharp retarding of the current and pollution, coming from industrial centres - Irkutsk, Angarsk, Bratsk - where different industries are developed, including the paper and pulp industry, which is poisoning greatly the Angara waters.

The Angara fauna has become much poorer, since many baikalian endemics were replaced by some species widely spread in eutrophic lakes.

As is shown by studies of the Scientific-Research Institute of Biology of Irkutsk State University, among the reservoirs on the Angara - Irkutsk, Bratsk, Ust-Ilimsk - most pure is the Irkutsk Reservoir, starting by Lake Baikal, at the Angara source.

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