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(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XVII. The Amúr district and the Amúr railway

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Kimkån station on the little river of the same nåme (i.e.
the golden river), which falls into the Birå. This station
stands about 850 feet above the sea. The soil here is
often permanently frozen to a depth of 26 feet, and only
3 feet or so on the top are thawed in the summer, where
the land is in its original state ; but where there is
cultivation, it thaws for at least 6 feet, and in course of
time it will thaw altogether, they hope. On the level
below the station they found first 3 feet of moss, below
that 10 feet of peat, then 6 feet of pure ice, and below
that again peat, which was frozen to a depth of 26 feet
from the surface. The slope above this bog is drier and
less frozen, and there potatoes and oats are now being
grown, and all kinds of vegetables—indeed, beautiful
flowers, and even maize, grow here in the garden. All
this is the work of one year.
The ridge traversed by the tunnel is formed of
porphyrite, which, however, contains such a quantity
of china-clay that it turns perfectly white as soon as it
is exposed to the air. At a distance it looks like shining
marble. The interior of the tunnel is not frozen. During
winter the frost in the ground does not extend more than
6 feet below the surface, and at this depth the tempera
ture remains at about freezing-point the whole year
round, from what the German engineer told me. But
farther within the tunnel, at about 230 feet below the
surface, the temperature was much higher. The
engineer asserted that it was as high as 7°C. (45*6° F.).
There is porphyrite everywhere in this district ; whereas
farther east, beyond the river Kamenushka (i.e. stone
bringing), from which we had come, the rock was a loose
gneissic granite, which weathers rapidly in the open air.
To the west of the tunnel the railway descends again
somewhat, but here deep hollows occur, across which the
line is carried by huge embankments 80 feet and more

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