Songhua River

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Songhua River
Songhua River is shown in a darkish blue color.
Chinese name
Chinese 松花江
Manchu name
Manchu script ᡠᠩᡤᠠᡵᡳ ᡠᠯᠠ
Romanization Sunggari Ula
Songhua River, just west of Harbin. Oxbow lakes are common sights along the sides of the river.

The Songhua River (Chinese: 松花江; pinyin: Sōnghuā Jiāng), also known as Haixi (Chinese: 海西; pinyin: Hǎixī), the Sungari River (Manchu: Sunggari-ula.png, Sunggari Ula), and the Xingal, is a river in Northeast China, and is the largest tributary of the Heilong River (Amur), flowing about 1,434 kilometres (891 mi) from Changbai Mountains through Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces. The river drains 1,443,100 square kilometres (557,180 sq mi) of land,[1] and has an annual discharge of 2,463 cubic metres per second (87,000 cu ft/s).[2]

As the Second Songhua River, it joins the Amur at Tongjiang, Heilongjiang. It is then interrupted by the Baishan, Hongshi and Fengman dams, which are used for hydroelectricity production. Fengman Dam forms a lake that stretches 62 kilometres (39 mi) upstream. Below the dam, the Second Songhua flows northwest until its largest tributary, the Nen River, joins it near Da'an and creates the Songhua. The Nen River drains the northern Manchurian Plain. The river travels east until it joins the Hulan River near Harbin. Then it passes between the northern end of the eastern Manchurian mountain system and the Lesser Khingan Range. The river then flows into the Amur River valley. The river freezes from late November until March. It has its highest flows when the mountain snow melts during the spring thaw. The river is navigable up to Harbin by medium-sized ships. Smaller craft can navigate the Songhua up to Jilin and the Nen River up to Qiqihar.

The extreme flatness of the Manchurian Plain has caused the river to meander widely over time. The result of the meandering is that the river is surrounded by a wide plain that is filled with swirls and curves, showing paths the river once took.

Environmental controversy[edit]

In November 2005, the river was contaminated with benzene, leading to a shutdown of Harbin's water supply and threats of a Russian lawsuit against China.[3] The spill stretched 80 kilometres (50 mi) and eventually reached the Amur River in Russia.[4]

On July 28, 2010, several thousand barrels were washed away by floods from two chemical plants in China's Jilin City. Barrels contained some toxic chemicals like Trimethylsilyl chloride and Hexamethyldisiloxane, about 170 kilograms (370 lb) of a poisonous substance in each. There were reports that some barrels exploded on contact with water.[5][6]


Cities along the river include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Geographic Atlas of China, p. 36. 
  2. ^ National Conditions: Main Rivers accessed October 21, 2010.
  3. ^ "Water pollution in China alarming,". 
  4. ^ China By Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, p.245. 
  5. ^ Khabarovsk Region prevents poisoned Sungari water from reaching Amur, Jul 30, 2010, Moscow Time
  6. ^ (Russian)Defence lines were opened in attempt to intercept the barrels with chemicals, RIA Novosti, 30.07.2010

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°52′05″N 130°27′47″E / 46.86806°N 130.46306°E / 46.86806; 130.46306