- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
403

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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FROM THE BURÉYA TO TRANSBAIKALIA
403
and that they would like to commemorate the occasion
of my journey by naming this station after me. This
was a complete surprise, and I could only thank them
most heartily for this great and unexpected honour.
It was a nice little station, lying on the plain in the
midst of a fertile and partly cultivated country.
Then wc went on again by tram. Here wc often
saw fields of wheat as far as the eye could reach. Judg
ing by the quantity of corn cut, it must be good, rich
soil, and this gave a picture of what these great plains
may become in the future. By degrees many villages
have appeared along the line here, but the distances
between them are great ; and it must often be four or
five miles from the villages to the fields, so that the
people have to walk or drive all this way to their work
in the morning and back again in the evening ; to a
foreigner this seems a meaningless waste of strength.
But they probably find it safer in this country to live
together than to be scattered over the plains; only
rarely could I see a solitary hut by the roadside.
The engineers here gave me a very remarkable
example of what the frost can accomplish in winter.
A new bridge was built on wooden piles which were
driven into the mud, but as the depth was great, the
piles had to be joined. When the engineers returned
last spring, the bridge was twisted quite out of the level ;
some of the piles were raised 12 inches. When they
were dug out it was seen that ice had formed in the
joints, forcing the balks of timber apart and forming
a column of ice of the same section as the pile and
12 inches high. This must have happened through the
water finding its way into the joints, where it froze,
expanding as it did so and thus forcing the balks apart.
But then the temperature of the ice was further reduced,
and it contracted again. A small interstice was formed,

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