- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
322

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
culturists. Here was a typical Chinese village, with
its houses crowded close together and a lofty fence
all round, to shut them all well in and keep all the
filth among the houses. Close by lay a Russian village,
which was the opposite of crowded ; it seemed rather
to be trying to spread itself as much as possible over
the plain. And why not ?—there is room enough here.
Russian officers and soldiers were about ; this is a
Russian military station, one of many along this line,
their object being to protect the railway from inter
ference and to secure communication with the Russian
East.
Farther on it was the same bare prairie, with
thin, low forest along the ridges, mostly birch and
oak, and long stretches without a sign of habitation ;
but here and there we saw a few cows and ponies,
and even a flock of sheep. Here again the hills are
low and undulating and uniform, and there is little
variety in the landscape. It is curious how little rock
is visible, although the slopes may often be steep enough.
As a rule everything is covered with a layer of loose
débris, often containing large loose stones. This is
not unlike a glacier-till, but it is formed by the
severe weathering of the rock, which has transformed
part of it into fine gravel and sand, while other parts
have been left in the form of large stones. When one
comes upon the rock itself, as shown in some of the
railway cuttings, one can see that it is quite worn on
the top, and large stones stick up among the gravel ;
there is no distinct line of division between the rock
and the loose material above it. The gravel is usually
covered by a thick layer of mould.
At Barim station, the second at which we stopped
on the eastern side of the Great Khingån, high crests
and rocks of granite projected above the ridge over the
322

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