- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
121

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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WAITING TO GO ON
121
were buried and frozen in the snow. But to avoid the
difficulty that snow melts again in spring and summer,
they were obliged to assume that these layers of snow
were transformed into glaciers, which have lasted till
our time, and have been gradually covered with layers
of earth and sand and clay. In addition to the im
probability of such a hypothesis, there is the difficulty
mentioned above, that the mammoths are not as a rule
found in ice.
Others (Brandt, for instance) have assumed that the
big, clumsy animals may have stuck fast in the bogs
and met their deaths in this way, as may happen to the
elk in Norway. But if the bog was soft to a depth great
enough for the animal to sink into it, how can it then
have been permanently frozen ? As wc see, there are
difficulties enough.
I should, therefore, be more inclined to think it
happened in this way : that the animals died a per
fectly natural death, near a great river, in autumn or
winter. The ground below them was thawed by their
bodily warmth and heavy weight, and the animal sank
in a little way, until the whole of it froze and it was
left frozen fast in the ground. In the freshets of next
summer it was flooded over, but the cold water was not
able to thaw it in the short time, and it was then covered
with layers of mud and sand which the flood-water
brought with it. In this way it was protected from
thawing again. Next winter the new layers froze, and
the next flood brought a fresh deposit on the top.
This, as far as I can see, is most in accordance with what
my vanished friend, Baron Toll, supposed.
Tuesday, September 2. Fine weather at last, and
in a Samoyede boat, rowed by Samoyedes, several of
us went to the westward, to visit the natives on Lebiashiy

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