Places: The Kolyma River

August 8, 2019 • #

Kolyma River

This striking image shows sediment flow from the Kolyma, a 1,300 mile braided river that originates in the mountains of Eastern Siberia.

For about eight months of the year, the Kolyma River is frozen to depths of several meters. But every June, the river thaws and carries vast amounts of suspended sediment and organic material into the Arctic Ocean. That surge of fresh, soil-ridden waters colors the Kolyma Gulf (Kolymskiy Zaliv) dark brown and black.

Nearby to the west you can see a pockmarked landscape of hundreds of glacial lakes that the river winds around. An amazing-looking landscape, but of course for 8-10 months out of the year looks much different — frozen beneath ice and snow. Remote, desolate places like this showcase how much impact ice and water can have on shaping the land.