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

(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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consists chiefly of larch, interspersed with a good deal
of birch, and here and there some fir and a little spruce.
The trees are not big, as the winter climate is severe
and there is little snow, so that the frost goes deep into
the ground and takes a long time to thaw ; in the
higher regions the soil is perpetually frozen. In the
country beyond Gondatti station, at an altitude of
about 1000 feet, the conifers in the forest were scarcely
high enough to make telegraph-poles, and they stood
as far apart as usual. Higher up, at 2000 and 2300 feet
above the sea, the trees became smaller still. They grow
slowly ; trees with a diameter of 8 inches near the root
might be 120 years old. The hills were for the most
part low, undulating ridges, with great flat stretches
between them, and wide marshes, often treeless, or
with larches or birches scattered singly over the ground.
Here and there the hills showed a slight tendency
to rise into peaks, which projected rather more boldly
above the long, smooth, rolling lines. But generally
there was one wooded ridge after another, as far as one
could see.
It was remarkable that here again there was no
sign anywhere of an Ice Age håving existed. The hills
and the sides of the valleys had not the typical rounded,
ice-worn forms. Almost everywhere the ridges and
valleys showed the forms of a country eroded by water.
Nor was there anywhere a smooth, ground rock surface
to be seen. And—most conclusive of all—these lofty,
sharp crests of much weathered, harder rock (veins),
which projected high above the flat country, could not
possibly have maintained their position if there had
been an Ice Age scouring the ground with its glaciers
in any recent geological period. These rocky crests
were often weathered in the most curious ways, which
pointed to their great antiquity.

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