Selenga Highlands

The Selenga Highlands (Russian: Селенгинское среднегорье) are a mountain area in Buryatia and the southwestern end of Transbaikal Krai, Russian Federation.

Selenga Highlands
Селенгинское среднегорье
Гусиное озеро. Хамбинский хребет.JPG
View of the Khambin Range from the eastern shore of Lake Gusinoye
Highest point
PeakBurgutuy Range HP
Elevation2,000 m (6,600 ft)
Length350 km (220 mi) NE/SW
Width140 km (87 mi) NW/SE
Area60,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi)
Selenga Highlands is located in Republic of Buryatia
Selenga Highlands
Location in Buryatia, Russia
Federal subjectsBuryatia and Transbaikal Krai
Range coordinates51°N 107°E / 51°N 107°E / 51; 107Coordinates: 51°N 107°E / 51°N 107°E / 51; 107
Parent rangeSouth Siberian System
Borders onMongolia
Age of rockPaleozoic and Permian

The highlands are named after the Selenga River. Protected areas in the highlands include the Baikal Nature Reserve and the Altacheysky Reserve.[1]


The Selenga Highlands are located in central and southern Buryatia. They rise in the area of the basin of the Selenga River, including its large tributaries – Dzhida, Temnik, Chikoy, Khilok and Uda. From the north, the highlands are limited by the valleys of the Khamar-Daban and Ulan-Burgas ranges; in the east they are bound by the watershed of the Uda, Vitim and Shilka, bordering on the Vitim Plateau; in the southeast they limit with the Khentei-Daur Highlands; in the south lies the Mongolia–Russia border and in the southwest and west, the Selenga Highlands are bounded by the northern slopes of the Dzhidinsky Range and the southwestern slopes of the Lesser Khamar-Daban. Lake Gusinoye is located in a basin between two ranges of the highlands.[2]


The Selenga Highlands include low to middle height mountain ranges with elevations ranging from 800 metres (2,600 ft) to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) above sea level, generally oriented in a northeast and ENE direction.

A stupa in the slopes of Monostoy Range.

Intermontane basinsEdit

In the Selenga Highlands some areas between ranges are occupied by significant depressions. These include:

  • Bichur Depression, with a length of 150 kilometres (93 mi) and a width of 20 kilometres (12 mi)
  • Gusinoozyor Basin, with a length of 50 kilometres (31 mi) and a width of 12 kilometres (7.5 mi)
  • Tugnuy-Sukhara Depression, with a length of 140 kilometres (87 mi) and a width of 30 kilometres (19 mi)
  • Other important intermontane basins are Borgoy, Ubukun-Orongoy, Udin-Ivolgin and Khudan-Kizhingin, among others.

Flora and climateEdit

The Selenga Highlands include taiga, steppe and forest steppe areas. Soils at heights from 500 metres (1,600 ft) to 700 metres (2,300 ft) are brown, from 700 metres (2,300 ft) to 900 metres (3,000 ft) black, and from 800 metres (2,600 ft) to 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) alfisols. Roughly two-thirds of the highlands are covered by mainly coniferous forests, but large areas of birch forests are also found. Of the rare plant species, the Siberian apricot, listed in the Red Book of Buryatia, deserves mention.[4]

The climate of the highland area is harshly continental. The average annual temperature is −0.5 °C (31.1 °F). Annual precipitation in the middle reaches of the Selenga River is between 210 millimetres (8.3 in) and 250 millimetres (9.8 in). Further up the watershed of its tributaries it reaches 350 millimetres (14 in).[5]


See alsoEdit


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