Songhua River
Overview
 
The Songhua or Sunggari River (Manchu language
Manchu language
Manchu is a Tungusic endangered language spoken in Northeast China; it used to be the language of the Manchu, though now most Manchus speak Mandarin Chinese and there are fewer than 70 native speakers of Manchu out of a total of nearly 10 million ethnic Manchus...

: , Sunggari Ula; ; ) is a river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 in Northeast China
Northeast China
Northeast China, historically known in English as Manchuria, is a geographical region of China, consisting of the three provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang. The region is sometimes called the Three Northeast Provinces...

, and is the largest tributary
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 of the Heilong River (Amur), flowing about 1434 kilometres (891 mi) from Changbai Mountains
Changbai Mountains
The Changbai Mountain Range or Jangbaek Mountain Range are a mountain range on the border between China and North Korea...

 through Jilin
Jilin
Jilin , is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. Jilin borders North Korea and Russia to the east, Heilongjiang to the north, Liaoning to the south, and Inner Mongolia to the west...

 and Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang
For the river known in Mandarin as Heilong Jiang, see Amur River' is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. "Heilongjiang" literally means Black Dragon River, which is the Chinese name for the Amur. The one-character abbreviation is 黑...

 provinces. The river drains 557180 square miles (1,443,089.6 km²) of land, and has an annual discharge of 2463 m3/s.

As the Second Songhua River
Second Songhua River
The Second Songua River is a tributary of the Songhua River in Jilin Province, China. The river meets the Songhua and Nen Rivers near Songyuan and has several tributaries to include the First Dao, the Second Dao, Huifa, Yinma, Yitong and Lafa Rivers. It is interrupted by the Baishan, Hongshi and...

, it joins the Amur at the town of Dongjiang
Tongjiang
Tongjiang is a city of 160,000 in eastern Heilongjiang province, People's Republic of China, located at the confluence and on the right banks of the Songhua and Amur Rivers, the latter which marks the border with Russia...

. It is then interrupted by the Baishan
Baishan Dam
The Baishan Dam is an arch-gravity dam on the Second Songhua River near the town of Baishanzhen, Huadian, Jilin Province, China. The purpose of the dam is hydroelectric power generation and flood control...

, Hongshi and Fengman Dam
Fengman Dam
The Fengman Dam is a concrete gravity dam from Jilin City on the Second Songhua River in Jilin Province, China. The main purposes of the dam are hydroelectric power generation and flood control. Construction of the dam began in 1937 and was complete in 1953...

s, which are used for hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

 production.
Encyclopedia
The Songhua or Sunggari River (Manchu language
Manchu language
Manchu is a Tungusic endangered language spoken in Northeast China; it used to be the language of the Manchu, though now most Manchus speak Mandarin Chinese and there are fewer than 70 native speakers of Manchu out of a total of nearly 10 million ethnic Manchus...

: , Sunggari Ula; ; ) is a river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 in Northeast China
Northeast China
Northeast China, historically known in English as Manchuria, is a geographical region of China, consisting of the three provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang. The region is sometimes called the Three Northeast Provinces...

, and is the largest tributary
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 of the Heilong River (Amur), flowing about 1434 kilometres (891 mi) from Changbai Mountains
Changbai Mountains
The Changbai Mountain Range or Jangbaek Mountain Range are a mountain range on the border between China and North Korea...

 through Jilin
Jilin
Jilin , is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. Jilin borders North Korea and Russia to the east, Heilongjiang to the north, Liaoning to the south, and Inner Mongolia to the west...

 and Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang
For the river known in Mandarin as Heilong Jiang, see Amur River' is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. "Heilongjiang" literally means Black Dragon River, which is the Chinese name for the Amur. The one-character abbreviation is 黑...

 provinces. The river drains 557180 square miles (1,443,089.6 km²) of land, and has an annual discharge of 2463 m3/s.

As the Second Songhua River
Second Songhua River
The Second Songua River is a tributary of the Songhua River in Jilin Province, China. The river meets the Songhua and Nen Rivers near Songyuan and has several tributaries to include the First Dao, the Second Dao, Huifa, Yinma, Yitong and Lafa Rivers. It is interrupted by the Baishan, Hongshi and...

, it joins the Amur at the town of Dongjiang
Tongjiang
Tongjiang is a city of 160,000 in eastern Heilongjiang province, People's Republic of China, located at the confluence and on the right banks of the Songhua and Amur Rivers, the latter which marks the border with Russia...

. It is then interrupted by the Baishan
Baishan Dam
The Baishan Dam is an arch-gravity dam on the Second Songhua River near the town of Baishanzhen, Huadian, Jilin Province, China. The purpose of the dam is hydroelectric power generation and flood control...

, Hongshi and Fengman Dam
Fengman Dam
The Fengman Dam is a concrete gravity dam from Jilin City on the Second Songhua River in Jilin Province, China. The main purposes of the dam are hydroelectric power generation and flood control. Construction of the dam began in 1937 and was complete in 1953...

s, which are used for hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

 production. Fengman Dam forms a lake that stretches 62 km upstream. Below the dam, the Second Songhua flows northwest until its largest tributary, the Nen River
Nen River
Nen River or Nenjiang , or Nonni is a river in Northeast China. The Nen River flows through the northern part of Heilongjiang Province and the northeastern section of Inner Mongolia, some parts of the river forming the border between the two regions...

, joins it near Da'an
Daan
Da'an District is an important educational, commercial, residential, and cultural district of Taipei City, Republic of China . The name of the district means "great safety" or "great peace".- History :...

 and creates the Songhua. The Nen River
Nen River
Nen River or Nenjiang , or Nonni is a river in Northeast China. The Nen River flows through the northern part of Heilongjiang Province and the northeastern section of Inner Mongolia, some parts of the river forming the border between the two regions...

 drains the northern Manchurian Plain. The river travels east until it joins the Hulan River near Harbin
Harbin
Harbin ; Manchu language: , Harbin; Russian: Харби́н Kharbin ), is the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China, lying on the southern bank of the Songhua River...

. Then it passes between the northern end of the eastern Manchurian mountain system and the Lesser Khingan
Lesser Khingan
Lesser Khingan is a mountain range in China's Heilongjiang Province and the adjacent parts of Russia's Amur Oblast and Jewish Autonomous Oblast....

 Range. The river then flows into the Amur River valley. The river freezes
Freezing
Freezing or solidification is a phase change in which a liquid turns into a solid when its temperature is lowered below its freezing point. The reverse process is melting....

 from late November until March. It has its highest flows when the mountain snow
Snow
Snow is a form of precipitation within the Earth's atmosphere in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft structure, unless packed by...

 melt
Melt
Melt can refer to:* Melting, in physics, the process of heating a solid substance to a liquid*Melt , the semi-liquid material used in steelmaking and glassblowing*Melt inclusions, a feature of igneous rock...

s during the spring thaw. The river is navigable up to Harbin
Harbin
Harbin ; Manchu language: , Harbin; Russian: Харби́н Kharbin ), is the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China, lying on the southern bank of the Songhua River...

 by medium-sized ship
Ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

s. Smaller craft can navigate the Songhua up to Jilin
Jilin
Jilin , is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. Jilin borders North Korea and Russia to the east, Heilongjiang to the north, Liaoning to the south, and Inner Mongolia to the west...

 and the Nen River up to Qiqihar
Qiqihar
- Subdivisions :Qiqihar is divided into 16 divisions: 7 districts , 8 counties and 1 county-level city .-Economy:...

.

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

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. The spill stretched 80 kilometers and eventually reached the Amur River in Russia.

On July 28, 2010, several thousand barrels were washed away by floods from two chemical plants in China's Jilin province. Barrels contained some toxic chemicals like Trimethylsilyl chloride
Trimethylsilyl chloride
Trimethylsilyl chloride, also known as chlorotrimethylsilane is a silyl halide, with a variety of different uses in chemistry. It has the formula 3SiCl, and under standard conditions it is a colourless liquid, which is stable in the absence of water...

 and Hexamethyldisiloxane
Hexamethyldisiloxane
Hexamethyldisiloxane is a organosilicon compound with the formula O[Si3]2. This volatile liquid is used as a solvent and as a reagent in organic synthesis. It is prepared by the hydrolysis of trimethylsilyl chloride...

, about 170 kg of a poisonous substance in each. There were reports that some barrels exploded on contact with water.

Geography

Cities along the river include:
  • Harbin
  • Jiamusi
    Jiamusi
    Jiamusi is a prefecture-level city in the province of Heilongjiang, in the People's Republic of China. Located on the riverside of the middle and lower reaches of the Songhua River, It faces Russia across the Ussuri River and the Heilongjiang River...

  • Jilin
    Jilin City
    Jilin City is the second largest city of Jilin province in Northeast China. At the 2010 census, 4,414,681 people resided within its administrative area of and 1,975,803 in its built up area...

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