|• location||Bolshoye Leprindo Lake|
|• elevation||975 m (3,199 ft)|
|126 m (413 ft)|
|Length||851 km (529 mi)|
|Basin size||87,600 km2 (33,800 sq mi)|
|• average||638.83 m3/s (22,560 cu ft/s)|
|Progression||Olyokma→ Lena→ Laptev Sea|
The region is famous for a peculiar mountain where charoite has been mined for decades. This intensely purple mineral, named after the river, is only found here and was discovered in the 1940s when a rail tunnel was constructed. Part of the Russian governmental debt was paid in charoite and slabs of this now expensive ornamental material were stored in basements of houses of the Hungarian capital city, Budapest.
The Chara begins as an outflow of Bolshoye Leprindo lake in the Kodar Mountains, in northern Zabaykalsky Krai. It flows through the Chara Basin between the Kodar and Kalar Mountains, passing the Chara Sands, a 37 square kilometres (14 sq mi) area of active sand dunes. It joins the left bank of the Olyokma not far form its mouth in the Lena. The Chara has 103 tributaries over 10 km (6.2 mi) in length. The most important are the Apsat and the Zhuya from the left and the Tokko from the right.