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0057 Explorations in Turkestan 1903 : vol.1
Explorations in Turkestan 1903 : vol.1 / Page 57 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000177
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We were therefore disposed to doubt the existence of a 600-foot shoreline until further search on the hills east of Baku, in a much more exposed situation than that of the anticlinal hills to the west, discovered other cobble spits on the west slope of the north-south monoclinal ridge of west-dipping Aralo-Caspian (Pontic) calcareous sandstones over the little village of Zuyk, at essentially the same altitude as the long spit on the Bibi-Eibat ridge. The position of these spits is shown at C, in fig. 17, and the profile of one of them in fig. 19. It should be remarked that they are on the western side of the ridge, and therefore turned away from the open Caspian. They are about 600 feet apart. Each one has the form of a flat spur, a little lower than the crest of the ridge, about 16o feet wide and 25o feet long, falling off with a steep western face of 15 feet on the free western side. They are composed, as far as may be judged from their surface materials, of rock slabs, from 2 to 4 feet in diameter, and of rounded cobbles, derived from the ridge ; also of pebbles, worn from the ridge-making pebbly sandstone. Close by the southern spit is a small patch of cobbles, lying on the bare rock of the ridge slope ; I,000 feet further south is a larger oval patch, 25o feet in diameter and 8 or io feet thick, of cobbles up to 2 feet in diameter. Although the inner structure of these spits and patches was not revealed, we were constrained by the significance of their materials, form, and position to interpret them as the. mark of a former Caspian shore, when the crest of the monoclinal ridge appeared only as a low island, exposed to the full force of deep-water waves, by which the slabs were torn from the exposed eastern face of the island and thrown on its western side. As in the case of the cobble spit on the Bibi-Eibat ridge, these spits must have been rapidly formed during a relatively brief high-level stand of the Caspian. In any case, a special importance attaches to the highest shoreline, and it was therefore with no small degree of interest that we looked forward from our stay at Baku to the opportunity of studying the eastern coast of the Caspian at Krasnovodsk.


Krasnovodsk is on the north side of a bay that is inclosed from the Caspian by a long south-pointing sand-spit. Here we were courteously received by Colonel Volkofnikof, governor of the district, who detailed one of his mounted guards to serve as a guide. An afternoon and a morning gave us time to measure a number of elevated beaches and to find some high-lying cobble beds of doubtful relations. The barrenness of the landscape was remarkable, in view of its immediate proximity to the sea, whose waters stretch beyond the horizon to the south and west. The town stands in part on the eastern slope of a " tombolo" or gravel reef, which, with a similar but higher reef a mile or more to the west, has tied a former island of granitic rock to the limestone escarpment of the mainland on the north, as shown in fig. 20. The eastern reef is about 135 feet over the Caspian ; the western reef, more exposed to the sea waves at its time of making, reaches a height of 185 feet. A ditch that had been cut through the eastern reef disclosed something of its structure, from which we inferred that it was built during a time of rising water.