Mekong River Facts

Mekong River Facts
The Mekong River is located in Southeast Asia, flowing 2,703 miles from the Tibetan Plateau to the Mekong Delta into the South China Sea. The Mekong River is Asia's 7th longest river and the world's 12th longest river. The Mekong River's watershed is approximately 307,000 square miles. Navigation of this river is difficult due to the rapids and variations in its flow at various times throughout the year, but it has nevertheless been an important trade route between the Asian countries that it flows through. The Mekong River has been given many names with different meanings over the years, but the name Mekong, which means 'the mother of water'.
Interesting Mekong River Facts:
The Mekong River has several names with different meanings. The Chinese call it 'Lancang Jiang' which means 'Turbulent River'. The Thai and Lao call it 'Mae Nam Kong' which means 'Mother Water'. The Vietnamese call it 'Cuu Long' meaning 'New Dragons'.
The earliest civilization known along the Mekong River dates to the 1st century A.D. however Europeans did not explore the river until 1540 when Antonio de Faria arrived from Portugal.
The Mekong River flows through several countries including China, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam, before discharging into the South China Sea.
The Mekong River flows through many cities including Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, and Can Tho.
The Mekong River's main tributaries include Nam Khan, Tha, Nam Ou, Mun, Tonle Sap, Kok, and Ruak.
The Mekong River's source is the Lasagongma Spring on the Tibetan Plateau in China.
The Mekong River's watershed (area of land drained by the river) is approximately 307,000 square miles in size, which in turn results in the discharge of approximately 110 cubic miles of water each year into the South China Sea.
Approximately 50% of the Mekong River's sediment comes from the Upper Basin. The Upper Basin only accounts for 24% of the Mekong River's total watershed, but soil erosion in this region is the reason behind the high percentage of sediment it contributes to the river.
The Mekong River's flood season usually occurs between July and October.
The Mekong River has more large fish species than any other river in the world, including the giant river carp, the Giant Pangasius, the Siamese Giant Carp, the Mekong Giant Catfish, and the Mekong Freshwater Stingray.
The world's largest inland fishery is located in the Mekong River Basin.
The Mekong Sub-region is home to 430 mammal species, 1,200 bird species, 800 reptile species, 20,000 plant species, and at least 850 fish species.
The Mekong River has many uses to modern man including irrigation, domestic water, industrial water, transportation, fisheries, and power generation.
Today there are approximately 60,000 people living in the Mekong River's basin.
Cambodia is highly dependent upon the Mekong River for survival. 80% of the protein intake in their diet is derived from fish from the Mekong River.
Vietnamese farmers rely on the Mekong River for 50% of the water used for irrigation.
The Mekong River region is considered to be the second most diverse in the world, following the Amazon River.


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