- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
416

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
the spring, to find out its extent and power. The
gneissic granite has been bored to a considerable depth,
and the temperature of the soil there was not below
freezing-point. The men were just engaged in boring
another hole, in which they found water at a depth of
only 6 feet, while the boring had now gone down 30
feet.
Otherwise, the temperature of the soil seems to vary
greatly here. In the neighbourhood of the station
three borings had been made to find water ; one, in
the flat bog below the station, to a depth of 347 feet.
Three feet of peat were found on the top, then a layer
of white ice 5 feet thick, below that sand, then rock,
gneissic granite, and it was frozen right down to the
bottom of the bore-hole. The gentle slope on which
the station stands had been bored in one place to a
depth of 360 feet ; but here there were alternate layers
of frozen and unfrozen rock down to the bottom of the
boring. At a third spot, on the same slope, a boring of
180 feet was made ; but here the soil was only frozen
to a depth of 125 feet, and the hole gave water, though
not enough for the purposes of the station. In summer
the soil thaws to a depth of 12 feet at the meteoro
logical station up on the slope, I was told, while down
on the bog it scarcely thaws to 3 feet, on account of the
layer of peat, which is a bad conductor of heat.
I have pondered a good deal over these layers of
ice in the soil of Siberia, and have come to the conclusion
that most of the explanations that have been given are
impossible ; these layers cannot be ancient glaciers that
have been left behind as fossils, and in some way or
other have been covered with layers of sand and clay—
nor can they be water that has spread over the country
in time of flood, has frozen and then been covered with
sand and clay by fresh floods (?), or anything of that
416

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