- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
404

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XVIII. From the Buréya to Transbaikalia

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THROUGH SIBERIA
where fresh moisture could penetrate, freeze, crystallize
out again, expand, -force the balks still more apart,
and then contract on further cooling, leaving space for
more water, and so on. On the sides round the ice the
moisture may freeze in a similar way ; but as the frozen
soil surrounding the hole offers too great resistance,
the ice cannot expand in this direction, but must press
upwards where there is less resistance. Iron bands
had been placed over the joints in the piles, and these
were attached with nails, which had naturally been forced
out by the expansion of the ice ; but these bands had,
nevertheless, prevented the piles from sinking again
when the ice contracted after freezing, and in this way
fresh interstices were constantly formed.
Then we left the main line to follow the side track
which runs down to Blagovéshchensk. This, the largest
town in the Amiir district, stands at the confluence of
the Séya and the Amiir. We did not go all the way
down to the town ; we only had to look at a bridge
that is being built over the Séya a little above it.
On the way there our carriage caught fire from sparks
from the engine, which was burning birch-wood and
sent out a regular shower of sparks. We had to tear
open the sides of the carriage and put it out with water,
as the fire had got in between the double planking.
Then we reached the broad and beautiful Séya. The
sun was just setting as we went aboard the paddle-boat,
which had been built on the river here at Blagové
shchensk. There was a deep-red glow over the western
bank, but dusk came on apace, the moon in the east
increased in power and threw its pale reflection on the
river, and the electric lights on the piers of the bridge
twinkled against the darkening sky and sent their
streaks of light over the water towards us. A lovely,
warm evening—mild, soft air, as though it were summer.
404

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