- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
334

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
The country acquires its character to a great extent
from the mountain range of Sikhotå-Alin, which runs
in a north-easterly direction through the whole province,
from the shore of Peter the Great Bay on the south, to
the Sea of Okhotsk, north of the mouth of the Amiir,
on the north. This is a very ancient mountain-chain
with sharp flexures, the altitude of which has been
greatly decreased by erosion in the course of ages. Its
average height is between 3000 and 4000 feet ; the
highest summit is Golaya, with an altitude of between
5000 and 5250 feet. The chain itself has a relatively
steep slope on the east towards the coast, while on the
west it falls more gently towards the Rivers Ussuri and
Amiir, which to a great extent run through wide valleys.
The mountains nowhere approach the snow-line and are
everywhere covered with primeval forest, the endless
taiga ; but in the interior a great deal of this has been
burnt by the natives and by the Chinese, in order,
amongst other purposes, to facilitate the search for harts’
and eiks’ horns, which are a valuable article in China,
being used in the preparation of medicine.
The country, then, is throughout a low, undulating
hill region. It has considerable low-lying plains along
the lower course of the Ussuri, but these are in great
part rather marshy with stagnant water, and are
frequently exposed to devasting inundations, so that
they are not well suited to agriculture. A great part
of the soil of this country is said to be fertile, but the
climate is not favourable, considering its geographical
situation. Vladivostok, which lies in latitude 43° 6’ N.,
that is, in about the same latitude as Florence and
Nice, has a mean annual temperature of only 4-6° C.
(40*3° F.). In summer the temperature may rise
above 30° C. (86° F.), and in winter it may go below
-25° C. (-13° F.). The temperature for the year
334

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