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    Present and Former Extent of the Koryak Territory 383  
Orography 384  
Coasts 387  
Rivers and Lakes 388
Climate 390  
Vegetation 399  
Fauna 404  
Influence of Climatic Conditions upon Progress 405



         Present and Former Extent of the Koryak Territory. — The bound- aries of the Koryak territory have somewhat changed since the advent of the Russians to that region. Prior to the time when the Russians came in contact with the Koryak, the latter reached as far as Tauysk. The first encounter between the Russians and the Koryak, according to the reports  of the Cossacks, took place in the Tauysk settlement. There were at that time villages of Maritime Koryak all along the western shore of the Okhotsk Sea and Gishiga Bay, and upon the adjacent rocky islands between  the mouth of the Gishiga  River and  Tauysk.

         At present the inhabitants of Tauysk are officially classified as Yakut who were transferred thither from Yakutsk; but, as a matter of fact, they are a mixture of Yakut, Cossacks, and Tungus. Farther north — if we exclude the villages of Yamsk, Tumanskoye, and Nayakhan, whose inhabitants have become Russianized, and who have become physically intermixed with other tribes, Russians, Tungus, and Yakut — the Varkhalam River, in the valley of which some Reindeer Koryak still wander, may now be regarded as the border-line of the  Koryak  territory  northwest of the  Okhotsk Sea.

         According to the Russian annals, the Koryak spread in Kamchatka as far as the Tighil River, on which, in the time of Krasheninnikoff, Koryak villages were still to be found.1   Dittmar, in 1853, drew the boundary-line
between the Koryak and the Kamchadal below the fifty-seventh degree of north latitude, somewhat to the south of the village of Oserna on the Bering Sea side, and of Voyampolka on  the  Okhotsk  Sea.2

         Krasheninnikoff mentions 3   a group of Koryak who in his time lived along the Imatkha River, a tributary of the Avacha, not far from Petropavlovsk. According to Krasheninnikoff, this group of Koryak formerly belonged to the nomadic Reindeer   branch;   but,   their   reindeer   having been driven  away by

  1  Krasheninnikoff,  I, p. 32                  2  See  Dittmar, Reisen in Kamchatka; and Part I of this volume, map.

3  Krashemnmkoff,  I, p. 50.

49 --JESUP   NORTH PACIFIC  EXPED., VOL.   VI.    PART   2.                      [383]



enemies, they settled down in one place. At the same time, however, they refrained from forming ties of kinship with the Kamchadal, thus preserving their language and customs intact. Now they have become Russianized, like the Kamchadal, and in no way differ from them. "Koryaki," 1 the name of their settlement,  is the sole  reminder of their origin.

       At the present time the camps of the Reindeer Koryak reach as far south along the western slope of the Kamchatka Ridge as the fifty-fifth degree of north latitude:1  and, according to Slunin, a few families will sometimes even reach Bolsheretzk.2  The Reindeer Koryak have also spread farther northward than at the time of the intertribal wars. Then, according to tradition, the southern Chukchee camps were separated from the northern Koryak camps by a stretch of desert land, which the Chukchee would cross from time to time to attack the Koryak. Now the Chukchee and Koryak camps wander peacefully together upon the table-land of the Palpal.

         I am inclined to suppose that no changes have occurred in the distri- bution of the Koryak in the northeastern region. The northeastern branch of the Koryak, the Kerek, have held themselves aloof from Russian influence, and until recently have been very little known.

         The western boundary-line of the Koryak territory is formed, now as formerly, by the Stanovoi, or, as Maydell calls it, the Kolyma Ridge. But in winter, for purposes of squirrel-hunting, a few camps wander across the Stanovoi Ridge into the region of the Kolyma River, as far as its tributaries Omolon and Korkodon, and return in the spring. According to traditions of the Korkodon Yukaghir, the Koryak in olden times crossed the Stanovoi
Ridge to wage war against them.

         At the present time the Koryak territory is situated mainly in the two districts of Gishiga and Petropavlovsk. The Gishiga district has an area of 81,553 square miles, and that of Petropavlovsk 149,467 square miles. Ac-cording to official data, there are in the Gishiga district 0.9 inhabitants to a square mile, and in that of Petropavlovsk 0.45 inhabitants to a square mile. The population is, of course, concentrated near the mouths of the rivers, in the river-valleys, and in places where reindeer-food is abundant. Between these inhabited places are  large stretches  of uninhabited  desert  land.

         To understand Koryak culture in so far as it depends upon environment, it is necessary to give here a brief description of the nature of that region. 

         Orography. — The Koryak territory may be called a highland rather than a lowland country, but nowhere do the elevations reach any considerable height. They are either spurs of mountain-chains which lie outside of the Koryak country, or are small elevations forming the watersheds within the country.      The Stanovoi   Ridge  sends  a  few  such  small  spurs eastward,   which

1 See Part I, map.                                                    2 See Slunin, I, p. 450.



form the divides between the Varkhalam, Gishiga, Oklan, Penshina, and other rivers. The Nalginski spur, at the north of the Koryak territory, abuts against the Palpal Mountains, and separates the river system of the Anadyr from the rivers of the Okhotsk Sea. Former travellers1 thought that the mountain-ridge of Kamchatka, with its volcanoes, represented an isolated elevation having nothing in common with the elevations proceeding from the Stanovoi Ridge, and that, sloping gradually northward, it disappeared in the mossy tundra of the Parapol Dol (Parapol Valley). However, according to Slunin,- the Kamchatka Ridge, though sloping northward, turns sharply away toward the east near the Parapol Dol, and at  170"  east of Greenwich meets the plateau-like elevation  of the  Palpal.

         Neither is the Taigonos Ridge, stretching along the eastern part of the Taigonos Peninsula, an isolated elevation. Passing in the north across the Gishiga tundra, it meets with a spur of the Stanovoi Ridge, and forms the watershed  between  the  Gishiga and  Paren  Rivers.

         One more elevation is to be mentioned in this connection; namely, the Mamechenski or Ma'mec Ridge. It extends between the villages of Rekinnok and Ma'mec, and ends abruptly on the seashore in vertical rocks, rendering that part of the country inaccessible from that side. Only in winter is it possible to pass under the ridge, by driving with dogs over the frozen sea. On the east the Ma'mec Ridge is separated from the northern portion of the Kamchatka Ridge by the tundra of the  Parapol  Dol.

         The available data regarding the elevations in the Koryak country indicate their insignificance, and we infer that they interfere but little with communication between the various parts of the region; but, on the other hand, the marshy tundras make communication during summer difficult and in some places impossible. The Stanovoi Ridge, which forms the western boundary of the country, attains there a considerable height, though it is far lower than  its southern part or than  the  Verkhoyansk  Ridge.

         Having crossed the Stanovoi Ridge by way of the upper part and the source of the Gishiga River, 1 ascertained the height of that pass to be 950 metres by barometric measurement, while the elevation of the surrounding heights I estimated at about  1150  metres.3   The height of the crests of the interior ridges, however, is quite insignificant. Thus I determined the height of the following  crests :  —

1.  Between   the   Varkhalam   and Gishiga Rivers,  a spur of the Stanovoi

1  Maydell, II, p.  101; Dittmar (Russian), p. 332.                             2  Slunin, I, p.  166.

3  The highest pass of the Stanovoi Ridge on the way from Yakutsk to the Udskoi Ostrog ( settlement at   the  mouth of the Uda River ), as determined by Middendorff (Reise, I, p. 133), is 1290 metres. The two summits of the Stanovoi Ridge on the way from Yakutsk to Okhotsk are 1260 and 825 metres respectively (Ermann, Reise, II, pp. 378, 392 ). The two summits between Yakutsk and Ayan are 940 and 996 metres respectively (Stephanovich, From  Yakutsk to Ayan, Irkutsk,  1896, pp. 106-108). The height of the pass of the Verkhoyansk Ridge, between Yakutsk  and Verkhoyansk, was found by me to be 1550 metres. Maydell as well as Dr. Bunge (see Mavdell, I, p. 33 )  found it to be about  1500 metres.



Ridge 517 metres; 2. Between Top olovka and Kilimadja Rivers, a branch of the  Taigonos Ridge, 540 metres; 3. The summit of the Taigonos Ridge on the way from Gishiginsk to Itkana, 500 metres; 4. The crest between the Talovka and Penshina Rivers, 420 metres; 5. Between Itkana and Paren, 360   metres;   6.    Between   the   mouths   of  Shestakovka   and  Penshina Rivers, 360 metres.

         The average height of the summits of the ranges of the Stanovoi Ridge on the way from Markova to Penshina River, along the Anadyr River, is determined by Maydell at about 300 metres.1 The crest of the northern part of the Kamchatka Ridge is estimated to be no higher.2

         Of the more or less extensive tundra regions, — that is, open expanses devoid  of trees, and covered with  moss, lichen, grassy hillocks, and creeping plants, --- which in summer are converted into marshes, there are the following: —

1.   The western part of the Taigonos Peninsula.

2.    The   Gishiga   tundra,   occupying   the   space   from the lower course of the Kolyma River to the tributaries of the  Paren  River in the east.

3.  The Parapol Dol, beginning near the village of Lesnovskoye (Lesna). This tundra, broadening near  Rekinniki (Rekinnok) village, stretches between the   Mameche  (Ma'mec)   Ridge   in   the   west   and   that   of Kamchatka   in the east, abutting on the heights of the Palpal in the north.

4.  The   Palpal   table-land,    occupying   the   entire   northern   part   of the Koryak territory.

         Besides, the entire littoral tract of the Okhotsk Sea as well as of the Bering Sea, for a distance of about fifteen miles, is nothing more nor less than a tundra, either sloping down towards the sea, as at Bering Sea, or rising above it, as near the shores of the Okhotsk Sea. Moreover, the summits of highlands, crests, and divides, and occasional glades in the river- valleys, at the places where they become wider, also form tundras. The former are usually covered with moss and lichen, and the latter with grass and grassy hillocks. The tundra of the coast is mainly grassy, with inter- mittent patches of brown  moss hardly anywhere suitable for reindeer-breeding.

         Mosses (Muscinece, of the genera Polytrichum, Hypnum, Sphagnum, Bryum, and others) generally cover the most boggy and marshy  parts of the tundra; while the lichen (Lichenes. of the genera Cetraria islandica, Cladonia rangiferina, Cetraria arctica, Stenocaulon paschale, and others), which serves as pasturage for reindeer, creeps over less swampy places, on the summits and slopes of mountains  and  hills,  over  places  having  a  stony  substratum, or

1  Maydell, I, p. 225.

2  However, in the southern part of this ridge we find volcanoes, like the Kluchevskaya, 4839 metres high. As to the pass "Polkovnik," in the northern part of the Kamchatka Ridge, Slunin says (I, p. 194), that, on the day when he crossed it, his aneroid indicated a pressure of 738 mm.: consequently its absolute height was less than 300 metres. 



on rocks. The lichen and moss tundras are frequently intermixed, one forming islands in the other. Wherever the tundra is hilly, or where it has slopes which serve to drain  certain parts of it, phanerogamous plants appear.

           However, the large tundras enumerated above do not represent a contin- uous plain surface. At some places they are cut up by ravines or by dales watered by rivulets, or they form a hilly surface with mounds and rocks, denuded by atmospheric influences. In this manner, plain marshy, swampy spaces, covered with stagnant water which cannot penetrate the frozen soil, alternate with more or less dry earthy or stony slopes from which all precipi- tation is  carried off, or with dank dome-like or oblong hills standing alone in the midst of the tundra, and often covered with bushes and trees. These hills are called yedoma by the Russian settlers of northern Siberia, — a name of unknown origin.

         Neither are these tundras entirely devoid of arboreal vegetation, which is found here and there, forming, as it were, oases. Some ravines and the banks of some streams have a scant growth of slender willows, thin poplars, and crooked, stunted birches; and the summits and slopes of hills are often covered with low stone-pines, which serve as the only but excellent fuel for the nomadic Koryak and for travellers who occasionally spend the night in the tundra. The hard and solid wood of the stone-pine and its creeping roots burn  slowly,  and produce a strong heat.

         Coasts. — The coasts of the Koryak territory, particularly those of the Okhotsk Sea, have many small bays, which evidently have proved favorable to  the  formation of permanent Maritime settlements. With the exception of the eastern shore of Kamchatka, almost the entire coast-line is a continuous steep rocky shore (either of granite or gneiss, as for instance on the Taigonos Peninsula, or of schistose rock), with reefs and small rocky islands lying near by, upon which the Koryak of former times used to seek shelter when at- tacked by enemies. Only the mouths of the rivers are sandy. For this reason the shores, particularly those of the bays of the Okhotsk Sea, are very difficult of access by vessels. Besides, the water in the bays is very shallow, and the sand-bars and sand-banks at the mouths of the rivers prevent vessels from coming close to  shore.

         The largest bays are those of Gishiga and Penshina in the Okhotsk Sea, and Baron Korff's Bay in Bering Sea. It is curious that on Steller's map of the Okhotsk-Kamchatka region the Taigonos Peninsula is not indicated, and the two bays which are  separated from each other by that peninsula are thrown together under the name of Penshina Bay.1 Gishiga Bay extends into the continent for about 170 miles. The head of Gishiga Bay is so shallow, that    steamers    have    to    anchor    from    sixteen    to    twenty   miles   below   the

1 See Steller, map opp. p.  12.



mouth   of Gishiga River;  and  only at high  tide are the steamer-tugs able to enter the mouth of the river.

         When a strong wind is blowing, steamers cannot lie at anchor, and, since storms are of frequent occurrence in the Okhotsk Sea. it often happens that steamers are compelled to stand off for a week, without being able to cast anchor. Once for two weeks a government steamer (until 1900, only once a year did a government steamer call at Gishiga) was unable to approach the mouth of the Gishiga; and, to avoid greater loss of time, she steamed farther north, to the Anadyr, without having discharged her cargo in Gishiga, and thus the inhabitants of Gishiga were left without provisions for the winter.

         In former times, Penshina Bay, when its waters still swarmed with whales, was frequented by American whaling-schooners, which anchored near the Koryak villages. Even now American whaling-schooners enter Penshina Bay from time to time; but steamers have not yet visited it. So far its depth has been little sounded. In 1897 the steamer "Kotik," belonging to the Kotik Company,1  made an attempt to cast anchor near the Kamenskoye settlement; but, the mouth of the river proving to be full of rocks, the attempt had to be given up. However, in 1895-96 the Russian schooner "Siberia" succeeded in coming close to the village and unloading its cargo.2

         I arrived in Gishiga at the end of August, 1900, on the steamer "Khabarovsk" of the Russian Volunteer Fleet. In order to avoid loss of time, 1 wished to get to the Maritime Koryak of Penshina Bay before the opening of winter travel. In the summer, communication with the Koryak villages is interrupted. I wanted to avail myself of the steamer "Progress" of the Russian-American Gold-Mining Company, which was then about to leave Gishiga for Vladivostok. I applied to Mr. Shockley, the American engineer in charge of that expedition, for passage with them, for myself and my companions, over to the Itkana Koryak in Penshina Bay, on their way to Vladivostok. Unfortunately he did not grant my request, for the captain of the steamer thought it too risky to venture into a bay which had not been surveyed.

         Baron Korff's Bay, in Bering Sea, is about thirty-five miles long. It is deep, and has several harbors suitable for steamers. There are a few other accessible bays in Bering Sea. such as the one at the mouth of Karagha River, sixteen miles long, and another one, called False Bay, on the western shore of Karagha Island, which is often  visited by  American  schooners for  walrus-hunting.3

         Rivers and Lakes. — All those rivers of the Koryak territory which flow   from  the Stanovoi  Ridge,  its spurs,  or the  Kamchatka  Ridge, are short

1   The Russian word kotik (Котикъ) means "sea-bear" (Otario ursina L.).       2   See Slunin, I, p. 155.

3   In August, 1897, Karagha Harbor and False Bay were visited by the British man-of-war H. M. S. "Linnet"`see G. E. H. Barrett-Hamilton and   H.O. Jones, A Visit to Karaginski`Island, Kamchatka, in The GeographicalJournal of the Royal Geographical Society, London, September,  1898, pp. 280-299).



and rapid. The mountain-ridges from which these rivers take their source are not far from the seashore, which accounts for the steepness of the river- valleys. The length of the large rivers varies from forty to two hundred and fifty miles. Compared with the gigantic rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean west of the Stanovoi Ridge, these rivers appear as pygmies. Of their rapidity one can judge from the fact that it is possible to row only seven miles up  the Gishiga River, which, next to the Penshina, is one of the largest rivers of that region.     Farther up the boat has to be towed.

         The Penshina is to a certain extent an exception in this respect. Not only is it longer than all the other rivers of the Koryak territory, but in its lower course it is more in the nature of a large river traversing a plain. In the eighteenth century the cossacks plied the Penshina River in boats, on the way  from Kamchatka to Oklansk1 and farther to the north. Prior to the advent of the Russians, there was a large village of Maritime Koryak at the mouth of the Oklan River, the largest tributary of the Penshina. Fishing was the main industry of the inhabitants, and by it they subsisted.

         Almost all the rivers of the Koryak territory have cut their way through the mountains. Piling up a rocky bed, they carry off in their rapid course the smaller fragments to the seashore, and either deposit them near the mouth of the river, or form sand-bars near by in the sea. Although some of the rivers flowing into Bering Sea — as, for instance, the Dranka and Karagha Rivers — have in their upper course all the characteristics of mountain-streams, when they reach the coastal tundra strip, they take a more quiet course, owing to which the bay near the mouth of the Karagha River offers a safe harbor.

         Especially in the rainy season, during the summer, and when the snow is melting after the ice breaks up, the rivers are full and raging; but in dry seasons they are quite shallow. In summer, when there are no rains, it is possible to wade across the Gishiga River at a distance of only forty-five miles from its mouth. Owing to these conditions, the rivers of the Koryak territory cannot be depended upon as a means of communication between the various branches of the tribe.

         The unusual force and height of the tides in the long and narrow Gishiga and Penshina Bays of the Okhotsk Sea also tend to the formation of sand-bars, and they are destructive to the coastal rocks. The rocky mouth of the Penshina River near the village of Kamenskoye is blocked by large bowlders and small rocky islands. Up to this time no one has made any regular observations of the tides in the Okhotsk Sea; but, according to infor- mation   obtained    from    Russian   seamen,    the   spring-tides   and   neap-tides   in

  2 Oklansk (Окланскъ) was a fortified Russian settlement (see Chapter XIV)  founded by the cossacks in 1690, after the destruction of the Koryak village of the same name.



Gishiga  Bay,  or.  as  they are locally  called,  the "larger and  smaller waters," alternate regularly every two weeks.

         The tides move with a rapidity of from one and a half to two and a half miles per hour, reaching a height of from four to eight metres. According to Slunin's data,1  the tides of Penshina Bay have a still greater force and height.  At the mouth of the Penshina River the tide reaches a velocity of seven miles per hour, and a height of from seven to ten metres. In the village of Kamenskoye I could see the tide crashing through the ice near the shore, and driving it into the mouth of the Penshina River. Enormous blocks of ice were piling up on each other, and wearing away the steep and rocky shore upon which the village is situated. At the mouth of the Tighil River the tide sometimes rises to a height of from five to seven metres. The height of the tide evidently depends upon the degree of exposure of a certain point. Near Okhotsk, for instance, where the sea is quite open, the tide does  not rise higher than  from two  and  a  half to  four  metres.

         Owing to the rolling surface of the country and to the absence of vast plains, the lakes in that region, in spite of the abundance of tundra spaces, are exceedingly limited in number as well as in size. In this respect the Koryak region differs strikingly from the vast plain of the Kolyma tundra, which contains thousands of lakes connected with each other by small rivulets. These lakes abound in fish, rendering them attractive to the settled population of the northern Yakut as well as to the nomadic Yukaghir. The rapidity of the rivers, and the small number of lakes, may offer an explanation of the absence of a settled population in the interior of the  Koryak territory.

         Of the lakes of the Gishiga tundra of more or less considerable size, I mention here the Kharitonovskoye, Chukchee (Chukotskoye), Ankudin (Anku- dinovskoye), and Paren (Parenskoye) Lakes. They are said to abound in pike and crucian-carp.2   However, none of the inhabitants of that region ever think of catching them. Some small lakes in which rivers take their rise are situated in the mountain-valleys. The largest lakes in northern Kamchatka are Lake Pallan, from which Pallan River rises, and Great Lake, in the Parapol tundra, forming the  source of a  tributary  of the  Talovka  River.

         Climate. — In the entire vast country of the Koryak, meteorological observations, so far, are carried on in one place only, the Gishiginsk settlement (and this regularly, only since 1901), it being a second-class meteorological branch station of the principal physical observatory of St. Petersburg. However, from the fragmentary observations of travellers, among them the observations of the author during his travels over the country, the conclusion may be drawn that the climate of the interior is somewhat more severe than it   is   on   the   strip   of  land   near the  shore  where  Gishiginsk  is situated,  and

1 Slumin, I, p. 147


39 I


that the moderating influence of Bering Sea upon the climate of the eastern shore is somewhat stronger than that exercised by Okhotsk Sea and its bays upon the climate of the coasts adjoining them.

         Since the country of the Koryak extends from about the 56° of north latitude to the 64, 1 the geographical position of certain points exercises some influence over their climate. However, the difference in the climate of the various places is not considerable. So far as the short series of available observations goes to show, it seems that a greater or less amount of humid- ity, or a greater or less severity of winter, results in a difference of about two degrees between the yearly averages of temperature of various points.

         I will cite here, from reports of the principal physical observatory of St. Petersburg, data concerning the mean annual and monthly temperatures, according to observations at the Gishiginsk station, for 1901 and 1902, the temperature being given in Centigrade degrees.2

  1901.   1902.
January  —26.0   —22.8
February —22.1  —27.6
March —16.2   —17.9
April —4.4 — 9.6
May 1.7    0.1
June 7.8   9.4
July I3.2 12.1
August. 12.0       10.6
September  4.0   3.0
October   — 4.5 —11.1
November —14.1   —19.1
December —14.9  —23.8
Mean annual temperature — 5.2   — 8.0

          According to further information furnished by the Gishiginsk station, the maximum temperature for 1901 was 25.1 C°. (VII. 7), and the minimum, -42.0° (II. 5). The first frost in 1901 took place Aug. 24; there are no data as to when it took place in 1902. The last frost in 1901 occurred on June 6; in 1902, on May 29. The first snow in 1901 fell on Sept. 27; in 1902, on Aug. 27. The last snow in 1901 fell on May 19; in 1902, on May 25. In 1902 the Gishiga River froze up on Oct. 15, and the ice in the river broke up on May 9. During my travels in the winter of 1900-01, the severest frost I experienced (-41.5°C.) was in Paren, on Jan. 26. The mean annual temperature of the coast of Bering Sea is -4°. 3

         If we compare the Koryak country with other maritime countries of the

1 See Part I, map.
2  The observ
ations  of this  station   prior   to   1901   being incomplete, it is impossible to find the mean annual temperature.

3  See Atlas climatologique de l'Empire de Russie publiι par I'Observatoire Physique Central Nicolas α l'occa-sion du cinquantiκme anniversaire de sa fondation,  1849-99 (St.Petersburg, 1900).




same latitude, we see that in the severity of its climate, which justly may be called arctic, it outranks them all. In no other place of a corresponding latitude, except Labrador, do we find such a low mean annual temperature on the seacoast. The climatic conditions on the east coast of America are determined by similar geographical conditions, to which is added the influence of the cold arctic current which skirts the coast of Labrador. Points lying north even of Gishiginsk (situated in 61° 55' north latitude) enjoy a higher mean annual temperature than the latter. Reykjavik in Iceland, for instance (64° 8' north latitude), has a mean annual temperature of 4.1°. Archangel (64° 32' north latitude), situated 2° 37' farther north than Gishiginsk, has a mean annual temperature of 0.40. This is explained by the influence of other unfavorable climatological factors, such as cold currents, the presence of ice in the sea late in the summer, the influence of cold northern winds, and air-currents from the western quarter; that is, from the Yakutsk-Kolyma side. However, as compared with the cold continental climate of the latter, the climate of the Gishiga region is considerably less severe. This is due to its position near the sea, as well as to the protection from cold winds afforded to some extent by the Stanovoi Ridge, west of which are observed the lowest mean annual temperatures on the surface of the globe. The mean annual temperature, calculated for a number of years, was found to be -11.0° C. at Yakutsk, -12.4° C. at Sredne-Kolymsk, and -16.90 C.   at Verkhoyansk.1

         The maritime character of the climate of the Koryak country is to some extent made still more manifest by the comparison of data showing the difference between the highest summer and the lowest winter temperatures. The annual amplitude was, for Yakutsk (in 1901), 92.3° (summer maximum, 33.6°; winter minimum, -58.70  2); for Verkhoyansk (in 1899), 103.50 C. (summer maximum, 33.7°; winter minimum, -69.8°  3); while for Gishiginsk it was (in 1901) 67.1 ° (summer maximum,   25.1°;  winter  minimum,  -42.00).

         Judging from data collected for Gishiginsk, the amount of rainfall is insignificant for a country situated near the sea. The annual rainfall in 1901 amounted to 218.2 mm., and in 1902 to 283 mm. The amount of rainfall is thus distributed by  months:  —

  1901.   1902.
January  2.2 mm.  39.7 mm.
February 19.0 8.3 
March  4.1    26.2 
April 10.3 11.1
May   2.8 7.9 
June 14.4 11.4 

1  Reports    of   the   Department   of  Physical   Geography   of the   University   of St    Petersburg  (St.   Petersburg,
18991, Vol. I, p. 20 (Russian).

2  Annals of the Principal Physical Observatory in St. Petersburg, 1901.

3  Voyeikov,, The  Coldest   Places  on  the  Globe (Meteorological  Messenger, St. Petersburg,  1897, No   8, p. 2  [Russian].




July 8.3  mm.        21.0  mm.
August. 9.1   69.2 
September 26.9 58.6
October   45.4   17.7
November 45.2 1.4
December 33.5  10.4 
Total for the year 218.2 mm.     282.9 mm.

         In 1901 there were 52 days of snow and 26 days of rain, and but 42 days of fine weather were recorded. In 1902 there were 62 days of snow and 28 days of rain. But the amount of humidity and the almost constant cloudiness point to the maritime nature of the climate of that country. I will cite here some observations made by me during my travels, which may give some idea of the difference in the amount of humidity in the atmosphere between places east and  west of the Stanovoi  Ridge.

         On leaving Gishiga in summer (in the month of August, 1901), on my way to the Kolyma River, I had, among other provisions, dried fish and rye biscuits packed in seal-skin bags, which are moisture-proof. On the third day I was compelled to throw out almost all the fish, and about half of the bis- cuits were covered with mould. On the contrary, up the Kolyma River dried fish kept well for weeks in my bags, and the rye biscuits became even dryer than they had been before.

         The following fact is still more interesting. Leaf-tobacco, for exchange and for presents, had been purchased for the Expedition in Russia by the Irkutsk firm of Anna Ivanovna Gromov.1 It was shipped in boxes by sea from Odessa to Vladivostok. In July, 1900, on leaving Vladivostok for Gishiga, I took the tobacco along with me on the steamer. Part of it I left in Ola Bay, whence it was sent directly to Verkhne-Kolymsk. The rest I took along to Gishiga. In the spring of 1901 I weighed the remainder of the tobacco, which was kept packed in its original case in the Government warehouse. The leaves proved to be moist; and to each pud of weight, according to the original invoice, there were found three pounds and a half (Russian) additional weight.2 In October of the same year I arrived at Verkhne-Kolymsk, and, upon   opening   the   boxes   of  tobacco   sent   from  Ola,     I  found the leaves to 

 1 avail myself of this opportunity to express my gratitude to Mrs. A. I. Gromov, and her son-in-law  Mitro-phan  Vasihevich   Pakhtin,   the  manager   of the  firm,  for  the   help  and gratuitous services rendered by them to the Siberin  section  of the Expedition.    The   firm   of A.  I. Gromov   is  the   largest in East Siberia dealing in furs, and supplying the districts along the Lena River with European wares.    It has its own steamer-line.    Mrs. A. I. Gromov rendered valuable  services  to   many  polar expeditions.    She sent her steamer "Lena," the former auxiliary vessel of the steamer "Vega"  of  Nordenskiφld's  Polar  Expedition,  in  search of Baron Toll.    Many ethnographical works on Siberia   have   been   published   at   the   expense   of Mrs.   Gromov;   the  large work on the Yakut, by V. Sieroszevski being one of them.

2  Froty Russian hor 36.01  Englis pounds, pounds, constitute one pud.



be   perfectly   dry, and to every pud of its original  weight there was found a shortage of four  Russian  pounds.

         The following table will give an idea of the changes of the barometric pressure in Gishiginsk in 1901-02, according to the records of the Gishiginsk Meteorological Station.

         We see from this table that Gishiginsk is outside the sphere of the anti-cyclone of northeastern Siberia, west of the Stanovoi Ridge, where we observe a regular winter maximum and a summer minimum. In general, a higher pressure is observed here during the spring months, beginning as early as February, when the weather is settled and is more or less quiet; and a lower pressure is observed in the fall and first winter months, when the greatest number of snow- storms occurs. However, a sudden change of pressure,  depending upon  the  main winds, may occur at any time of the year.

         According to the observations of the Gishiginsk station during 1901,1 the winds are as follows: north, 324 times; northeast, 268; south, 94; southwest, 91;  northwest, 46;  east, 17 ;  southeast, 11;  west, 7; and calms, 196.  2    As   will   be   seen,   the   greatest number of winds falls to the  northern

1  These observations  are not complete for all the months of the year preceding   1901.   For 1902 the observations were taken three tims a day.
Annals of the Principal Physical Observatory of St. Petersburg,  1901.



quarter.     The   winds   from    the   northern   and   western   quarters   —   that   is, those blowing from the Arctic Ocean and the Stanovoi  Ridge — bring cold, and   those   from the  east and south  bring warmth.     A  sudden change in the winter   in the winds from one of these two directions,  may cause a very low temperature,   followed   by   thawing   weather,   and   vice  versa.     A sudden rise in   temperature   is   accompanied   by   a   strong   wind,   a penetrating damp fog, melting   ice,   or   by   a   fine   drizzling   rain.     The   dampness   penetrates every- where ;   the   clothing   is   wet   through   and   through,   and   sticks to the body. But   instantaneously   a   cold   wind   rises,   and the wet straightway changes to frost.     The   clothing,  heavy with moisture,  quickly stiffens,  turning to an  icy coating,  which  cuts the  body mercilessly.     Woe to the traveller overtaken by such   weather   away   from   human   habitation,   or   in   an  open tundra without wood   for  a   fire!     I  was told that oftentimes people overtaken in the desert by   such   sudden   changes   of wind had been frozen to death.    We ourselves, in our travels,  were twice overtaken by sudden thaws, but fortunately in each case we were not far from dwellings.

          My   own   observations,   covering   a   period   of  about  three months (from November   to   January,    1900-01)   in   Kamenskoye,  at the mouth of Penshina  River,   show   prevailing   northeasterly   winds,   and   thirty,   out   of  a hundred observations,   followed   by  a  rise   in  temperature.     Eastern   winds,   in   most cases, also brought warmth.    This was accompanied by a considerable fall of barometric   pressure   and   by   snow- storms.     For   instance,   Nov.   7,   1900,   the temperature   in   the   morning   was  21.5°C.  (mimimum for the night, -24° C), the   wind   was   southwest,  the barometric pressure,   766 mm.     In  the daytime of the  8th the temperature was   1.6°,   the wind northeast,  barometric pressure 745  mm.,   and it was raining.     On  the morning of Nov.   12  the temperature was --16.50 (minimum   for   the   night,  -23.50),  pressure  749  mm.,  wind north- east   with   a velocity of 8.1   metres  per second.     In the evening of the same day the temperature was -7.6°,  barometric pressure  739  mm., wind east, and a   storm   with   a   wind-velocity   of   18.6   metres   per   second;    while   on   the morning   of the   13th  the temperature was 3.80,  the  pressure  735  mm.,  wind east  with  a velocity of 10.8  metres per second,  and  it was raining.     On the morning of Nov.   18 the temperature was -5.20 (minimum of the night, -11.50), pressure   755   mm.,   wind northeast with a velocity of 5.8  metres per second. In   the   evening   of the   same   day   the   temperature   was   0.50,   the   pressure 745  mm., wind  northeast with a velocity of 18 metres; while on the morning of the 19th the temperature was 0.2° (night minimum, 0.20 as well), barometric pressure  737   mm.,  wind  northeast  with  a velocity of 21.3  metres per second, that is,  47.5   miles  per hour.

         On the other hand, according to my own observations, on the very coldest days of the winter of 1900-01, which I spent in the villages of Kuel (the  24th) and  Paren  (the   25th  and   26th),  on  the shores of Penshina Bay the



wind was blowing from the western quarter, the barometric pressure was 761-762 mm., the velocity of the wind was only from 0.2 to 3 metres per second, and the temperature ranged from - 40° to - 41.50. As mentioned above, the snow-storms are accompanied by a great and sudden rise of temperature. But there were a number of stormy days in January, in Kamenskoye, with a very low temperature and the wind north-northeast. For instance, Jan. 17 — with the thermometer at - 21° (night minimum, -37°), wind north-northeast, a pressure of 745 mm. — the anemometer showed a wind-velocity of 20.2 metres per second.1 On such days no clothing, no matter of what kind, is any protection from the cold. Woe to the person who is on the road at such a time! Snow-flakes as fine as sand and as hard as crystals whirl and whizz through the air, creep up under the clothes, blind the eyes, and cut the face. The hands and the entire body grow rapidly stiff, and in a long-continued struggle against the unceasing onslaughts of the wind one finally succumbs. Not a thing can be seen around, since the air is thick with snow.

          When, on such days, I went to make observations at my station (which was only a few metres distant from the house), I should have soon lost my way and been unable to find my house, without the assistance of the cossack or interpreter. On days when snow-storms raged with extreme violence, not less than three of us would venture out together, for it was very easy to be thrown down by the wind, and buried under the snow, in the very midst of a settlement. Not only women, but even men, do not leave the house during very violent storms. When a snow-storm begins to rage, the dogs are let loose in order to give them freedom to find a sheltered place for themselves in their struggle against the weather. They lie down huddled together, and do not move until the falling snow makes breathing difficult. Then they get up, shake off the snow, and lie down again. In this struggle with the storm the dogs get so tired out that they lie motionless for an entire day after the storm has passed over. Dogs which are left tied perish oftentimes. When Mr. Bogoras came from Markova to visit us at Kamenskoye, in November, his driver left his clogs tied near my house over night. On the following morning the dogs had to be dug out from under the snow, and one of them was smothered. The wind-velocity, according to the ane- mometer, was then  only  3.5   metres per second.

         How frequently snow-storms occur during the first winter months may be judged (at least for 1900-01) from the fact that during my sojourn in Kamenskoye in November and December, 1900, and part of January, 1901, there were twenty-five days with a wind-velocity of from 10 to 21.3 metres per second.     1  settled down there in a small log-cabin belonging to a resident

1 However, on Jan.  16 the temperature was — 34° C. (night minimum, —37.50), pressure 761 mm., wind north-east  with a velocity of 4.5  metres per second.



cossack. On mornings after a strong wind had been blowing at night, the hut would be found covered up to the roof with snow, so that we were unable   to   get  out,  and the Koryak would come to shovel  off the snow and dig us out.

         The bays of Okhotsk Sea, as well as those of Bering Sea near the Koryak shores, remain open in winter. Only the northern part of Gishiga Bay freezes up for a distance of from ten to fifteen miles from the shore. As late as May 10, 1901, I succeeded in driving on dog-sledges across the sea-ice from the mouth of the Chaibuga River to the small Russian settlement Kushka, at the mouth of the Gishiga, since, owing to the rising of the moun- tain- streams and the melting of the snow, it was impossible to go to that place direct by land. However, in Penshina Bay and on Bering Sea, only small narrow bays and a narrow strip along the shore freeze up ; and in the course of the winter, even this strip of ice often gives way to the attacks of stormy tides and  violent winds,  and  the  ice is carried off into the open sea.

         The mouth of the Penshina remained clear during my entire stay at Kamenskoye. Each incoming tide brought in the ice-floes, which, breaking against the rocky shore, were turned into a mass of ice, or left upon the rocks. All these circumstances — the open sea, the instability of the ice along the coast, and the floating ice in the open — affect unfavorably the sea- hunting of the Koryak. During the winter, when the Chukchee and Eskimo hunt seals under the ice, the Maritime Koryak cannot have fresh provisions from the sea,  but are dependent upon their summer and fall supplies.

         On the other hand, since the sea is not ice-bound, navigation in the Okhotsk Sea begins early in spring. According to Slunin,1 American whaling- schooners appear in Penshina Bay as early as April, casting anchor near the Itkana settlement on the Taigonos Peninsula and in Ma'mec Bay in Kam- chatka, where they find shelter from the strong winds. The first Russian steamers, however, do not sail from Vladivostok for the ports of the far
north before the end of May, since, even as late as June, drifting  ice is to be found in Baron Korff's Bay, near Okhotsk, and even near the Shantar Islands, situated to the north of the mouth of the Amur River, whither they are carried by the cold currents. The cold current from Bering Sea hugs the eastern shores of Kamchatka, while two cold currents are observed in Okhotsk Sea, — one, from Gishiga Bay toward the southeastern shores of
Okhotsk Sea; another, in the northern part of Penshina Bay, passing along the western shore of Kamchatka toward the  Kurile Islands.

         The presence of ice far into summer, which absorbs most of the heat of the long summer days prevailing in that latitude, does not give the sea- water   a   chance   to get warm,  and  to  moderate the  night temperature  of the

Slunin, I, p. 259.



shores. Owing to the constant cold fogs in the beginning of summer and the heat-energy expended in melting the snow, the earth gets but little heated. More or less clear and comparatively warm days come not earlier than at the end of July and beginning of August. The soil, however, thaws out only to an  inconsiderable  depth.

         Regular observations with reference to this matter have hardly been carried on as yet, but all over that region the natives utilize a hole in the ever-frozen soil as a cellar in which to preserve their provisions. Slunin found a frozen layer of soil in the Gishiga tundra at a depth of 0.9 metres, and on the Stolbovoi tundra at a depth of from 0.36 to 0.54 metres.1  Dittmar found in summer, near Gishiginsk, a thick layer of fossil ice at a depth of from 45 cm. to 60 cm.2  On the Sedanke River he found the frozen soil at a depth of from  60  cm.   to  90 cm.3

         On the northern slopes of even very small heights, in gorges, or in rocky bays, the ice-glazed snow, hardened by the winds, melts only toward the end of August. The moist, moss-covered turf-layer of the tundra is another means by which the heat is prevented from penetrating deep into the soil. The rain-water and the water from the melting snow, which evap- orates but very slightly, unable to penetrate the frozen soil, stagnate on the surface of the plain, forming extensive swamps, and rendering all communi- cation difficult or impossible during summer. Thus, from the beginning of May until the middle or end of October, the Russian settlement of Gishiginsk, as well as other settlements, is completely cut off from the Koryak villages and  camps.

         Communication   between   points   situated   at   a   short   distance   from   one another   is   carried on by the Koryak on  foot, and by the Tungus by riding their   reindeer.     The   animals   best adapted  for use in  moving from place to place   in   that   swampy   region    would   be   pack-horses;    but   there   are   very few    horses   available,    particularly    in   the   Gishiga   district.       The    Russian  inhabitants of Gishiginsk  owned  in   1901   only about sixty-five horses, brought thither   at   different   times  from the Yakutsk   Province.     Though  these  horses are very hardy,  they cannot long endure  the journeying through the swamps, but   wear   out   quickly,   since   they   have   only   the   scant   green   fodder upon which   to   depend.      The   Russians   use   them   only   for   short-distance   riding between their own settlements along the Gishiga River, or from the settlement Gishiginsk   to   the   Tungus   fairs   on   the   Varkhalan   and   Nayakhan   Rivers; and   seldom   during   summer   does   a   Russian   merchant   venture  even  to  the nearest Koryak  villages. For   getting   over   from   Gishiga to  Paren  (Poitin)  in  the fall  of  1900,  I

1  See Slunin, I, p. 250.

2  See Dittmar, Reisen in Kamtschatka, pp. 427, 431.

3  Ibid., p, 483.



succeeded in hiring twenty saddle and pack horses.1 I he distance from Gishiginsk to the Koryak village of Paren (about a hundred miles), which in winter is covered in two days when driving with dogs, occupied us eighteen days. It must be added, however, that the conditions were particularly unfavorable. After a very rainy summer the swamps were unusually deep, and, just before crossing the northern part of the Taigonos Ridge, we were suddenly overtaken by a violent snow-storm, which forced us to stop for three days. It so happened that the place where we stopped afforded only  very poor pasture; and our horses, tired out by the journey of the preceding clays,  were completely exhausted.

         Good fodder-grass is, as a rule, very rare in that region. The swamps are covered mainly with varieties of reed-grass (Сyperacea), horse-tails (Eqiii- setacece), and ferns, which are not very nourishing. In civilized countries many of these grasses, which serve here as fodder for horses, are regarded as harmful for cattle. Thus the horses hardly managed to drag us up to the Koryak village. Of the horses which 1 sent back to Gishiga with a driver, six died on the way from the effects of a snow-storm, and six in Gishiginsk soon after their arrival  in that place."

         It may be remarked in this connection that among the horse-tails, the preponderance of which among the pasture-grass frequently produces epizoφty even among the by no means fastidious cattle of northern Siberia, there are found some useful varieties. One species, Equisetum scirpoides Mich., is particularly liked by the Yakut horses. The horses of the arctic region fatten in two or three weeks on pastures covered with this variety of horse-tail. On our way from the Gishiga territory toward the Kolyma, in the fall of 1901, we came across an enormous pasture-ground covered with E. scirpoides at the source of the Gishiga River, and the Yakut asked me to stop there for a day in order to give the horses a chance to recuperate on that pasture.

         Vegetation. — Very few varieties of trees are represented in the Koryak territory, Of the coniferous trees there are two species, — the East Siberian larch-tree (Larix Dahurica Turcz)3 and the shrub of dwarf cedar or stone- pine (Pinus pumila Pall.), which represents a certain variety of the Siberian cedar (Pinus cembra L.). Its seeds, small edible nuts, and cones, are the same as those of the Siberian cedar, from which they differ only in size. Dr.   Slunin   thinks4   that   the   Siberian  fir (Picea  obovata  Ledb.) is also to be

This  trip   proved   very  advantageous.     Had   I   waited   in Gishiga for the winter roads to become passable, should  not   only   have   lost  two   months,  but   I  should   also  have  missed the opportunity of seeing the autumnal religious festivals described in Part 1, Chapter V, and which heretofore were unknown.

2 See  the Jesup   North   Pacific   Expedition,  popular  account (The American Museum Journal,   1903, Vol. III, No. 5. p. 102).

3  While the Siberian   larch-tree   (Larix Siberica Ledb.) occurs west of the  Yenisei River, the Dahurian larch-tree   (Larix   Dahurica   Turcz)  grows  east   of  it   (see  Professor  S.  Korshinsky,   The  Vegetation   of Russia,   in   The Russian Encycloaedia  of Brockhaus and Efron. Vol. XXVII, p. 45) 4  See Slunin, I, p. 306.

51 -JESUP   NORTH   PACIFIC   EXPED).,   VOL.   VI.   PART   2.



found, though very seldom, on the northern coast of the Okhotsk Sea; however, I never observed that tree in the region of Gishiga and Penshina Bays.

         Of the deciduous trees there are the following species, — three kinds of birch (Betula alba L., B. Ermanii, and B. nana), the fragrant poplar (Populus suaveola Fisch.), the aspen (Populus tremula L.), and two kinds   of alder (Alnus incana Wild, and Alnaster fruticosus Ledb.). In addition to these species of trees, there are to be found in the river-valleys a few varieties of willows, which frequently reach quite a luxurious development and height,  having thick,  tree-like trunks.

         While in all other parts of Siberia, particularly in the north, the conif- erous trees preponderate over the deciduous trees, we meet here mainly the above-mentioned deciduous trees, which furnish less durable material for building and manufacturing purposes, and which, when used for fuel, do not produce as much heat as do the coniferous trees.

         In the absence of other species of coniferous trees, except the abovenamed Larix Dahurica and Pinus pumila, — such as the Siberian spruce, the pine, the two species of fir, Picea obovata Ledb. and Picea Ajanensis Fisch., which are represented in the southern region of the Okhotsk Sea,1 — the Koryak territory (namely, the northern part of the Okhotsk Sea and northern Kamchatka) does not differ from the arctic strip of Siberia west of the Stanovoi Ridge. In the Yakut Province the northern spruce, so characteristic of the woods of the southwestern parts of eastern Siberia, disappears north of Olekminsk, and the Verkhoyansk Ridge forms the northern limit, which the pine and fir do not cross. East of the Stanovoi Ridge the spruce disap- pears near the Uda River, and the pine and the fir reach to the north as far only as Okhotsk. In Kamchatka the Siberian spruce (Abies Siberica Ledb.) and the fir (Picea Ajanensis Fisch.) are to be found in the extreme southern part only, along the  Kamchatka  River and  in   Kronotzki  Bay.2

         In the distribution of the larch and of the dwarf cedar the Koryak territory differs materially from the arctic region of Siberia west of the Stanovoi Ridge. There the larch (Larix Dakurica Turcz) is the tree that forms the northern limit of woods, — like the American fir of North America, — and also reaches highest up on the mountains; there we find the poplar and the aspen only in the river-valleys far to the south of the northern tundra; and in a similar manner the stone-pine or creeping cedar (Pinus pumila Fall.) covers the slopes of mountains at the source or at the middle course of the rivers of the Yana-Kolymsk region, without extending far northward. Here, however, in the Koryak territory, the deciduous varieties, the poplar and the aspen, are the trees found to form the limits of arboreal growth (the southeast-

1  See Slunin, p   269.   According to Korshinsky, there are the varieties Picea excels.    Link and Picea Ajanensis Fisch. (1. c, p. 46).

2  See Krasheninnikoff, I, p. 44;  Slunin, I, p. 306; Korshinsky, p. 46, map; Dittmar, p. 765.

 40 I


ern  border-line,  in  the  direction  of Bering and Okhotsk Seas), while the dwarf cedar is  found  highest  up  on  the  mountains.

         In the Koryak territory the larch disappears at a considerable distance from the forest-line. Vast larch-forests may still be found upon the eastern slopes of the Stanovoi Ridge and near the heads of the rivers and their tributaries flowing into the bays of the Okhotsk Sea, such as the Nayakhan, Yarkhalan, Gishiga, Paren, and Penshina. On the Varkhalan and Gishiga Rivers, larch-trees, sometimes mixed with poplar and aspen, are to be found, even as far down as their mouths; but on the Gishiga, at about thirty miles from the mouth, they are scant and puny. They follow both banks of the river in almost regular rows, so that on the lower course of the Gishiga one may follow its windings by these scant rows of trees standing out amidst the marshy tundra. However, at a distance of about eighty miles up the Gishiga, large larch-trees with trunks may be observed. One trunk collected by me measured 63 cm. in diameter. East of the lower course of the Gishiga, down to the coast of Bering Sea,  the larch-tree  is  not found.

         On my trip from the mouth of the Penshina River up to the north, to the Palpal Ridge, I observed enormous poplar and aspen forests in the river- valleys, but saw no larch-trees. Toward the south the larch may be found again, according to Dittmar, only in southern Kamchatka, at the middle part of the Kamchatka Ridge. But even there it does not flourish down to the sea, being surrounded on all sides by woods of deciduous trees. The proximity of Okhotsk and Bering Seas proves to be unfavorable to arboreal growth in general, and to that of the larch in particular, which, in the river- valleys of the Okhotsk Sea, retires from the shore in the direction of the Stanovoi Ridge.

         The larch, which can endure the cold of -70° C. in Verkhoyansk, is unable to withstand the destructive influence of snow-storms and the sudden formation of ice on its trunk after penetrating dampness. For the same reason, poplars and aspens disappear at a distance of from twelve to seven- teen miles, or more, from the seashore. Only when protected by the banks of the river-valleys or hills  do  we  find  them  nearer to the  shore.

         The stone-pine, growing upon hills and mountain-slopes, attains in the Koryak territory higher altitudes than other varieties of trees. According to my observations on the Taigonos Ridge, the stone-pine reaches an altitude of about five hundred metres absolute height; while the deciduous trees, such as poplar, aspen, and alder, remain far below, in valleys and gorges. It should be added, however, that on the Stanovoi Ridge proper, even on its eastern slope, the larch  marks the vertical  limit of forest-growth.

           I have entered in my travelling-diary that on the eastern slope of the Stanovoi Ridge, in the valley of the upper course of the Gishiga River, the poplar   and   aspen   disappear   at  the  height  of 515   metres;  the  stone-pine,  at



the height of about 540 metres; while the larch reaches as high as 585 metres.1  Travellers who have visited northeastern Siberia usually describe the stone-pine as a low, creeping shrub. Slunin says2  that the stone-pine does not reach more than three feet in height. In most cases this is perfectly true; but on the Taigonos Ridge and on the elevated right bank of the Paren River we saw stone-pines six and seven metres high with a trunk- diameter of forty centimetres, and over. In some places these trees actually formed a dense forest. Sitting on our horses, we could reach out with our hands and pull down the cones filled with nuts, but from the lower branches only. Hence the term "creeping" or  "dwarf" cedar could hardly be applied to those particular specimens of the stone-pine.

         It may be said, in general, that the territory of the Koryak, especially the inhabited places near the seashore or the tundra, are scantily supplied with trees. Vast forests — deciduous, or coniferous mixed with deciduous varieties — are to be found, as we have seen, on the eastern slopes and branches of the Stanovoi Ridge. Farther east, the forests are confined to river-valleys, and some groves may be found on mountain-slopes and hills. But  the forests become still scarcer as we approach Bering Sea. East of the Gishiga, the spaces between the river-valleys are either treeless tundras with a few thin shrubs of willow, alder, Erman birch, mountain-ash, blackberry, and hard carices scattered here and there, or mountains whose slopes are overgrown with dwarf cedar.

         Thus the western slope of the Taigonos Ridge, the Parapol Valley (which passes in the north into a tundra plain), and the elevated tundra of the Palpal plateau-land, constitute more or less vast tundras covered with moss, and are suitable for reindeer-breeding. The mouths of the rivers and the rocky seashore, where the Maritime Koryak live, are covered with grass, among which there are some gramineous varieties, particularly the Elymus mollis Trin., which plays an important part in the Koryak household, and which sometimes reaches the height of a man. Here on the littoral strip we observe a few varieties of sedge-grass, which is used in sacrificial ceremonies, the edible willow-herb (Epilobium angustifolium), two varieties of nettle (Urtica dioica L. and Urtica angustifolia Lebd), which are used for making thread for plaiting sacks, bags, and nets. For other useful plants the reader is referred to Chapter VIII  and  X.

         The   lack   of woods at the  river-mouths is  compensated  for by the drift- wood   carried   down   from   the   upper   and  middle  course of the  rivers during

1  It is of interest to add, in connection with this, Slunin's description (I, p. 194) of the eastern slope of the Kamchatka Ridge, between the Karagha and Dranka Rivers, from the coast-line to the summits. He says, "First there is the rolling, wet, treeless tundra, the tundra of the reindeer; a little higher follows a wide strip of stone- pine undra; still higher up, the mountain-slopes are thinly overgrown with Erman birch, the mountain-summits are sloping and treeless''. From this description we draw the conclusion that in that region Betula Ermanii  forms the vertical limit of arboreal growth on mountains.

2  See Slunin, 1, p. 306.



high water in spring. In some places logs are piled up several feet high on the banks of the rivers. These are mostly varieties of deciduous trees, — poplars and aspens. This timber is not very durable for building-purposes. Boats hollowed out of a poplar-tree will last only about three years. In like manner the poplar-logs used for poles in underground houses have to be replaced by new ones every few years; while among the Yukaghir on the Kolyma River, who use larch (which grows there in profusion) for building, I saw log-cabins and storehouses built a hundred years ago, the logs of which were still perfectly solid.

         At the mouth of the Nayakhan, Gishiga, and Paren Rivers, and partly of the Penshina River, we found among the driftwood a small quantity of larch, but farther to the east it is no longer found. According to the natives, the larch may  be found at the upper course of the Penshina River, which is the longest of the rivers of the Koryak territory. Larches carried away by the rising of the water in spring are often thrown out on the banks long before they reach the mouth of the river.

         The agents of the Russian-American Company, which was to build a telegraph-line,1 used to cut down for telegraph-poles, along Penshina River, near the place where the Oklan empties into it, only poplar and aspen trees. The Koryak of Alutor have to be content with slender deciduous trees for their buildings; while the Kerek have no timber at all, the short rivers of their country flowing along absolutely treeless banks. Neither can they burn their dead (see Part I, p. 104); and their underground houses are made of rods and fragments of wood covered with earth and snow (see Chapter IV).

         Mr. Kennan's opinion, that the Koryak build their houses of driftwood brought in by the sea, is erroneous. The sea washes very little driftwood to the shores, which are too steep and rocky, at least in the bays of the Okhotsk Sea, to permit any driftwood to accumulate upon them. When I went from the mouth of the Gishiga to that of the Nayakhan in a boat (about one hundred miles), I saw very little driftwood on the shore. In the little bays where we stopped to rest or to seek shelter from inclement weather, we found a sufficient quantity for a wood-pile to make a fire, but not enough for buildings. Besides, the logs were so broken and shattered, that they could hardly be used in a building.

        The driftwood which the Koryak use for building-purposes and for fuel is found by them on the river-banks. The timber thrown out by the currents forms, in some places, piles a few metres in height.     The driftwood is carried

1   Kennan   mentions   that  the  larch is  to  be  found  on  Penshina River at the place where the agents of the  Company  felled   trees   for telegraph-poles, but Maydell's information (I, pp. 230, 575; II, pp. 245, 247) on this sub- ject is more reliadle. On his way from  Markova  to  Gishiginsk  he   saw   a   few   sporadic,  crooked larches  along Penshina  River,  only   near   the  Penshinsk  settlement;  then along  Gishiga  River   up  to  the  point where the Black (Черная)   River  empties   into   it,  he   met  with   no   more  larches.    During   my trip from Kamenskoye on the Palpal, I turned off from Penshina River to the right,   without   reaching  Penshinsk.    On   my  way  I  noticed in the river- valleys only poplar and aspen trees, which on the Penshina River can be found almost at its very mouth.



off from the heads of the rivers in the spring, when the ice breaks up, by the strong current. The ice at the upper course of the river presses in its movement on the ice farther down the course, which has not yet broken up, and forms ice-packs, which raise considerably the level of the water, and widen the river-bed. When the stationary ice is unable to withstand the press- ure longer, it breaks with a crash; the ice-floes uproot the trees growing on the banks, and they are washed away by the rapid current, and thrown out on the bank somewhere below, after the river has assumed its former level.

         It often happens that the ice-floes will tear from the bank a piece of solid earth with the trees growing on it, and carry it off to the sea. 1 had an opportunity to observe such floating islands at the time when the ice was breaking up on the Kolyma River. Such floating piles are carried from place to place by the ice-floes; so that, at the mouth of the river, one can find trunks which have been travelling for several years from the head of the river to its mouth.

         Fauna. — From an ethnographical standpoint we are interested in only those species of animals which bear some relation to human activity. With reference to those we shall speak at greater detail in the chapters on domestic animals and the trades. We will confine ourselves here to a few general remarks. The land-mammal fauna are represented by a small number of species.

         Slunin enumerates 1   forty-three species of land-mammals in the Okhotsk- Kamchatka region; but from this number those species are to be excluded which are to be found in the southern part of the Okhotsk region, and not in the Koryak territory, such as Meles taxus Sch., Mustella Siberica Pall., Canis alpinus  Pall.,   Cervus alces  L.,   Cervus capreolis  L.,  Moschus Moschiferos.

         Of the sea-mammals, Slunin enumerates 2   twenty-three species; but in this number are included Rutina borealis Stell., which is extinct, and Enchy- dris marina Schr., which is not to be found at present in the Koryak seas. Out of the nine varieties of whales enumerated by Slunin, perhaps four are to be met with at present.

         According to Professor Allen,3  the mammal fauna of eastern Siberia, including the Koryak territory from which the zoological collection for the American Museum was mainly obtained by the Jesup Expedition, "so far as genera are concerned, consists of exclusively holarctic types, represented in both arctic America and in Eurasia, but in more or less differentiated forms on the two continental areas. A close relationship between the forms of boreal mammals inhabiting the two continents is beyond question, — a rela- tionship so intimate that it could only have been brought about by a former land bridge connecting the two areas."

1  Slunin, II. pp. 84 -86.                                          2  Ibid., 11, p. 86.

3  Allen,  Report on  the  Mammals  collected   in   Northeastern   Siberia   by   the  Jesup   North Pacific Expedition
(Bulletin American Museum of Natural History, Vol. XIX, New York,  1903), p.  182.



         It is hardly necessary to say that the species of fish caught by the Koryak are the same as those on the American side of Bering Sea, but they differ from those of the arctic rivers west of the Stanovoi Ridge. There we find mainly the Coregonidce, which ascend the rivers from the polar sea, while in the Koryak waters the Salmonidce (especially of the genus Oncorhynchus) are of greatest importance.

         Influence of Climatic Conditions upon Progress. — From this brief description  of  the nature of the region, it may be seen to what extent its form of culture depends upon surrounding conditions. It can hardly be expected that under such a climate the manner of existence can be materially changed. In the far north, material culture depends more upon the degree of latitude than upon human efforts. Agriculture is impossible, because the earth does not thaw out to a sufficient depth; the soil is mostly marshy ;  and the temperature is too  low for the growth  of cereals.

         In 1901 there were in Gishiginsk only seventy-eight days without frosts, which is not a sufficiently long period for the growth of cereals. This time is in reality still more curtailed, since the growth of cereals does not begin, or stops if already begun, till the temperature is somewhat above the freezing-point. Botanists regard the temperature above 6* C. as a necessary one for the growth of cereals.

         Taking into consideration the poor quality of the grasses, and the enormous expanses covered with moss, lichen, and marshes, cattle-breeding as an industry is also impossible. As we shall see below, the efforts of the Russian Administration to develop cattle-breeding among the Russianized Maritime Koryak of Kamchatka and the Okhotsk district — that is, in the more southern parts of the territory —  has  met with  very little success.

         The fur-trade cannot be regarded as a means of improving the general welfare of the natives, since, aside from the fact that the profits derived from it remain in the hands of unscrupulous traders, the number of fur-bearing animals is rapidly decreasing, owing to their ruthless destruction.

         Fishing and the hunting of sea-mammals, as indicated above, can be carried on in the summer only;  so that during the long winter the Maritime population have to  depend exclusively upon  their summer supplies.

         Reindeer-breeding, though affording a more reliable source of sustenance to the wandering Reindeer people than that offered by hunting and fishing to the Maritime people, is still in a most primitive state. The type of a Reindeer household has so far remained unchanged, contact with Russian civilization for a century and a half not having exercised any influence upon it. This primitive state of the material life of the Koryak, left almost intact by   outside   influence,   determines   the   primitive   state   of their mental  culture.