- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
311

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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IRKUTSK TO VLADIVOSTOK
311
crustaceans of the lake, which have been collected
by the Russian expeditions, have been described by
Professor Ossian Sars. They are remarkable for show
ing, contrary to what is usually the case in lakes, a
great wealth of species, which are peculiar to Baikål ;
in fact there are even entirely peculiar genera ; many
curious amphipods in particular are found there. These
many forms must have been evolved in the lake itself,
and this shows, amongst other things, that the lake
must be very ancient ; for the development of so many
local species, and indeed so many entirely new genera,
of crustaceans, besides species of fish and mammals,
must have tåken a long time.
The shores of the lake, which for the most part rise
fairly steeply from the water, are little inhabited by
men. Permanent settlements on any large scale are
only found at the mouth of the Selengå, on the great delta
formed by that river. Then there are some dwellings
on the shore immediately opposite and on the island
of Olkhon, besides a few at the south-western extremity
at Kultuk. Round about the lake are many places
which the natives regard with much superstition and
which are objects of their worship. This has doubt
less given rise to their designation of the lake as
holy.
We rushed on all day along the shore of this huge
lake, through tunnels and cuttings, round promontories
and past valleys, with constantly changing and beautiful
scenery. But all of a sudden we came upon great
stretches of burnt forest, which always makes the
same hopeless impression with its black stems, bare
and scorched. But what does it matter here ? The
forest still has no value. For the most part it seemed
here to consist of the usual Siberian spruce and silver
fir ; besides these there are Siberian cedar, fir and

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