- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
250

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
250
Sarepta, where suddenly it bends away at a right
angle from the lergeni hills (the Volga hills) on
its right side, and flows away over the low flat
steppe-land to the south-east, may probably also
find its explanation in the fact that the Caspian
throughout a considerable earlier period came as
far as here. It is only a relatively short time that
the river has been flowing in its present bed over
the low plain down to the delta on the present
coast of the sea; 1 but the time has been long
enough for there to have arisen here also, as wc
have seen, a difference in height between the right
and the left bank, although the land is flat every
where; and the shift may well have been as great
as would seem to be shown at the bank by the low
swamp-land with the many side-channels which
has been left behind by the river on the left side of
its main channel.
In the districts north of Stalingrad (Tsaritsin)
the soil is very fertile; the area of the so-called
"black earth", in particular, stretches far to the
west. This soil is so rich that, if there was always
ram enough, it would yield quite extraordinary
crops; but it is the ram that often miscarries, and
of which there is seldom quite enough. And now,
too, there was a brown and dried-up look over
parts of the plain to the west. Although it is
Russia’s richest corn-land, in very rainless years
there can be distress in these districts. So it was in
1921-2, when the drought brought about the great
famine, and it was just here and north as far as
1 Vertical movements of the earth’s crust during and after the lee
Age may also have been ofimportance.

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