- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
377

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THE AMUR DISTRICT AND AMUR RAILWAY
377
Séya Plain is in the neighbourhood of freezing-point,
while farther south, near Khabarovsk, it may be some
what higher. But in summer it is very warm, which of
course is important to agriculture. The mean tempera
ture for July is above 20° C. (68° F.) for the greater part
of the country. In places the thermometer may rise
as high as 47° C. (116’6° F.). But the winter is cold:
the mean temperature for January in the Buréya-Séya
Plain may go down to - 25° C. ( - 13° F.), and tempera
tures of - 30° and - 40° C. ( - 22° and - 40° F.) are not
uncommon.
On account of the prevalence of south-easterly
winds in the summer and northerly and north-westerly
winds in the winter, there is much precipitation in
summer, but little snow in winter ; indeed, there is
scarcely enough for sledging. This is unfavourable to
vegetation, as it causes the ground to freeze to such a
depth that it is slow to thaw in summer.
The country possesses valuable mineral wealth. It
is especially rich in gold, which is found in many places,
chiefly in the sand along many of the rivers ; and placer
mining is carried on over large sections of the country.
In the course of the work on the new railway coal seams
have also been found in several places.
The original native population of the Amiir district
consisted of roving tribes, all belonging to the Tungus
people : Manchus, Manegres, Daurs, Golds, Oroches or
Orochons, and Tunguses proper. They were, to a great
extent, fishermen and hunters who roamed along therivers
and in the widely spread taiga, while the Tunguses proper,
as well as some of the Orochons, were reindeer nomads
who wandered about the forests with their reindeer,
but also carried on fishing and hunting. The number
of the natives can scarcely be put higher than 4000 or
5000. They are among the most gifted and vigorous of

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