Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/23

This page needs to be proofread.



Towards the east the Kara-narin-ula is connected by low and perhaps interrupted ridges of hills with the Sheiten-ula and therefore with the In-shan ; on the south it is separated from the Ala-shan moun- tains by sandy wastes upwards of 60 miles in extent.

Like the mountains near Kalgan, the Kara-narin- ula serves as a border range, i.e. it forms the girdling rampart of the elevated Gobi, separating it from the lower valley of the Hoang-ho ; the difference be- tween the level of the country lying east and west of it amounting to 2,400 feet. From the valley of the river it presents the appearance of a steep wall, intersected by occasional narrow defiles. Its greatest height is in the middle ; but along its whole extent it is wild and barren. Enormous crags of granite, hornblende, gneiss, felspathic porphyry, syenite, felspar, limestone, and clayey schist furrow the sides of these mountains and сгоwп many of their peaks, whilst great blocks of the minerals become detached from the rocks by a natural pro- cess of disintegration, and roll down to the bottom of the ravines. Here and there a shrub of the wild peach, or a scanty elm, clings to the mountain side, but otherwise there is very little vegetation of any kind. Nevertheless, animals abound here ; numbers of kuku-yamans haunt the rocks, and the argali in- habits the western slopes where the outline of the hills is softer. The peculiarity of this range is the abundance of its springs and watercourses, notwith- standing the entire absence of trees.

From Khan-ula we had the choice of two routes