The Lena River

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The 25 Longest Rivers in the World
The River as a Lifeline
The River as a Boundary
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The Lena is the 10th-longest river in the world, flowing 2,734 miles across the Far East regions of Russia, forming near Lake Baykal and flowing northeast to the Arctic Ocean. It empties in a 250-mile-wide delta at the Laptev Sea.

The river is home to many kinds of animal and plant life but only for a few months out of the year; the rest of the time, the river is frozen solid. Among the animals that call this wetland home during the warmer months are ducks, geese, sandpipers, terns, and gulls. A fish called the cisco is thought to come only from this wetland. Marine mammals live there as well.

The river flooded its banks in a big way in 2001, causing some of the worst flooding ever seen in Siberia. Hundreds of thousands of people were affected. Scientists had to blow up iceblocks that were blocking the river's flow in some place.

The Laptev Sea, into which the Lena River empties, helps keep the temperature of the world's northernmost regions regulated, through large blocks of ice that from from the Lena's outflow and then break off when the temperature rises at the river's mouth, drifting off to cool.

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David White