- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
37

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS
37
The reason for the peculiar form of the valleys is
probably that the slopes on both sides of the range
are so steep that the glaciers found little resistance,
while the water, together with the frost, has a strong
erosive power, which has been greater than the
glaciers’. There is, further, the fact that the types
of rock are mostly relatively soft and but little
capable of resisting frost and water.
Since the Caucasian mountain ridges were slowly
formed by the folding and contraction of the earth’s
crust, they were originally much lower than they
are now. But then erosion has gradually cut its
deep valleys through the ridges, and carried much
of them away. Through this the earth’s crust has
been lightened, and has correspondingly risen; the
peaks and ridges between the valleys, which have
not been greatly affected by erosion, have in this
way been raised to the great heights at which they
now stand.
These districts, moreover, are in a state of unrest,
and are often visited by violent earthquakes, as
was Leninakan in Northern Armenia a few years
ago. Related to this is probably the tale about the
bird Simurg, which has its nest on the top of Djin-
Padishah (the King of the Spirits, Elbruz) , and with
one eye sees the past and with the other the future.
When it rises in the air the ground shakes from the
beating of its wings, the storms howl, the sea grows
rough, and all the sleeping powers of the deep wake
to life.
There is probably a connection, too, between the
rising and falling of the surface of the Caucasian

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