- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
395

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THE AMUR DISTRICT AND AMUR RAILWAY
395
down below, and the temperature remains permanently
low, summer and winter. The disintegrated rock is also
a bad conductor of the internal heat of the earth, which
comes from below. Similar conditions are familiar in
Norway in old mine-workings that have been closed,
so that there is no longer a through draught ; ice may
be found in them all the year round. This is the same
phenomenon of which the farmers of Hardanger take
advantage, in making what they call their " kallhol,"
which are caves dug in the talus of the mountain side.
It freezes all through the summer in them, so that food
can be kept there. This must be due to the cold air
sinking through among the stones of the talus in winter
and freezing the water below, while the warm air in
summer has no power to penetrate downwards.
This tunnel that wc walked through here was
splendidly frosted everywhere. The walls of the side
levels and the crevices were entirely covered with rime,
so that they shone like the whitest marble in the light
of our lanterns. The completion of this tunnel will be
attended with great difficulties ; the concrete cannot be
poured in at the present temperature of the walls ; the
tunnel must therefore be warmed ; but what will happen
then, will not great pieces of rock come falling down, as
soon as the ice melts in the crevices ? Yes, there are
difficulties enough in work of this kind, and they have
to be considered in advance, before the accidents
happen.
Farther to the west the hills decreased in height and
descended towards the rolling, grass-grown plains,
encircled by wooded and slightly rising ground. On
one of these wide plains lay the Cossack village of
Esaulovka. It undoubtedly had good corn land, if it
were only ploughed ; but such enterprise is not to be
expected of the Cossacks ; they content themselves

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