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Selenga River in Russia
Native nameСеленга
CountryRussia, Mongolia
Physical characteristics
2nd sourceIder
Source confluenceOlon golyn bilchir
 • locationKhövsgöl, Mongolia
 • coordinates49°15′40″N 100°40′45″E / 49.26111°N 100.67917°E / 49.26111; 100.67917
MouthLake Baikal
Length992 km (616 mi)
Basin size447,000 km2 (173,000 sq mi)
 • locationUst-Kyakhta
 • average284 m3/s (10,000 cu ft/s)
 • minimum23 m3/s (810 cu ft/s)February
 • maximum601 m3/s (21,200 cu ft/s)August
Basin features
ProgressionLake BaikalAngaraYeniseyKara Sea
 • rightUda

The Selenga or Selenge (/sɛlɛŋˈɡɑː/[1] Mongolian: Сэлэнгэ мөрөн, romanized: Selenge mörön; Buryat: Сэлэнгэ гол / Сэлэнгэ мүрэн, romanized: Selenge gol / Selenge müren; Russian: Селенга́, IPA: [sʲɪlʲɪnˈɡa]) is a major river in Mongolia and Buryatia, Russia. Originating from its headwater tributaries, the Ider and the Delger mörön, it flows for 992–1,024 kilometres (616–636 mi)[2][3][4] before draining into Lake Baikal. The Selenga therefore makes up the most distant headwaters of the Yenisey-Angara river system.

Carrying 935 cubic metres per second (33,000 cu ft/s) of water into Lake Baikal, it makes up almost half of the riverine inflow into the lake, and forms a wide delta of 680 square kilometres (260 sq mi) when it reaches the lake.


The name Selenge comes from Mongolian seleh, which means "to swim". 'Selenga' is the russified version of the same.

An alternate source believes the name originated with the Evenki word sele ("iron") to which the possessive nge suffix was added.[5]

The Selenge Province of Mongolia is named after the river.

River Course[edit]

The Selenga River is 1,480 km long and is formed from the convergence of the Ider and Delger Rivers. [6] It flows from Mongolia and into east-central Russia, acting as the main tributary of Lake Baikal. [6]

The Delger River flows from the Sangilen Mountains, “…found on the border between Mongolia and the Russian republic of Tyva…” [6], while the Ider’s headwaters are located in the Hangyn Mountains in central Mongolia.[6]

Upon the meeting of the Delger and Ider Rivers, the Selenga River moves northeast from Mongolia and joins with the Orkhon River at Suhbaatar. [6] The river then continues north into Russia. [6]

Once in Russia, the river turns eastward towards Ulan-Ude, the capital of Buryatia and then goes northwards to Tataurovo. [6] The Selenga proceeds to move westwards and then “…flows through a delta into Lake Baikal.” [6]


The largest tributaries of the Selenga are, from source to mouth:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Selenga",
  2. ^ H. Barthel, Mongolei-Land zwischen Taiga und Wüste, Gotha 1990, p.34f
  3. ^ "Сэлэнгэ мөрөн". Archived from the original on December 5, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2007.
  4. ^ "Селенга". Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  5. ^ E.M. Pospelov, Географические названия Мира (Geograficheskie nazvaniya mira, Moscow: Russkie slovari, 1998), p. 378.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Selenga River | river, Asia". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-10-14.

External links[edit]