- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
232

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
232
tions for these products to help form a rich
plankton ; and the greater part of them are thus
carried out unused into the Caspian. In the
Caspian there are no strong currents of any width,
nor any tides to distribute this river water over a
large area, as happens in the case of the usual open
sea-coast ; thus it collects in the northern and shallow
part of this sea, especially near the Volga delta.
The volume of water carried by the Volga in its
lower reaches may vary, according to calculations,
between 1,200 and about 60,000 cubic metres
(tons) a second. This means that in the summer
when the water is high it carries something like
200 million cubic metres of water an hour, or
5,000 million cubic metres in twenty-four hours,
out into the Caspian. In other words, every twenty
four hours it could cover an area of 2,500 square
kilometres with water to the depth of 2 metres.
This water is always bringing fresh supplies of
valuable feeding-matter, and together with the
favourable warmth (up to 26°-28° C. in the
summer) yields the conditions needed for the
growth of an extraordinarily rich plankton-life,
which in turn brings about the growth and develop
ment of the fish. This is probably the explanation
of why it would be hard to find another such place
where anything like so great quantities of fish, and
of various kinds, are caught in so limited an area.
Up the Volga
Before wc left Astrakhan in the evening Mr.
Strelnikov, the owner of the barge with vats which

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