- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
36

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
36
On the south the Caucasus falls away to the
level land in the low valleys of the Kura and Rion,
and on the north to the flat steppes of south-east
Russia.
The streams up in the mountains generally follow
the valleys, running lengthwise, parallel with the
line of the main range, but then break through the
ridges in deep narrow gorges. The snow-line on the
south side of the range Hes at 2,900-3,500 metres ;
on the north side it Hes at 3,300-3,900 metres.
Like the Alps, so too the Caucasus has had an
lee Age, and has been covered with far-reaching
snow and ice-glaciers, coming far down towards
the lowlands. But it is remarkable that the valleys
have not in any degree worthy of mention been
scoured and carved out by the glaciers into a
U-shape, as wc generally find in glacier-swept lands.
Nor have the ice-glaciers hollowed out deep lake
basins in the mountain floor, which is, on the other
hand, a characteristic of ice-swept lands, as wc
find in Norway and Sweden. In the Caucasus the
valleys are steep-sided, deep, narrow, and V-shaped ;
and thus the valley bottoms are narrow, and often
hardly allow any passage between their steep
walls. Often, too, the streams have cut their way
down into deep narrow clefts or cafions. There are
no lakes, and the streams huri themselves down
the clefts towards the lowland with water that is
nearly always muddy, and does not stop on its way
to be cleared in any lake. This water, therefore, is
usually good for use on cultivated land, and it
leaves heavy deposits at the foot of the mountains.

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