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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

There were two tracks here to Nushki


We

had made another double march on that day, and reached Mall in the middle of the night. Padag to Kuchaki Chah, 13 miles, 756 yards; Kuchaki Chah to Mall, 15 miles, 1,154 yards. Total, 29 miles, 150 yards.

It was freezing hard, thermometer 28 deg. Fahrenheit, and the wind bitterly cold. My men felt it very much and so did my camels, which all became ill.

We left Mall again very early the following morning, as I intended to proceed direct to Nushki. There were two tracks here to Nushki, the old and the new. The old track went in a straight line and was in consequence some miles shorter; the new track more or less follows the foot of the mountain range, probably taking this course for the convenience of the several Beluch villages to be found in the Nushki plain.

The rocky mountain range to the south got lower as we approached Nushki, and was then crossed by another low range extending from north to south while the longer and higher range stretched from north-north-east to south-south-west. A few miles from Nushki we came across some most peculiar and very deep cracks in the earth's crust. One could plainly see that they were not caused by the erosion of water, but by a commotion such as an earthquake. In fact, we came, soon after, to a place where the whole sandy plateau had actually collapsed, and when we stood on the edge of the portion which still remained unchanged, we could

see it end abruptly in perpendicular cliffs. What was the evident continuation of the valley lay now some hundred or more feet below its former level. In this lower valley there were a number of Beluch villages.

This crack and depression extends for no less than 120 miles, according to Major MacMahon, who in 1896 went, I believe, along its entire length into Afghan territory, and he describes it as "a well-defined, broad line of deep indentations, in places as clearly defined as a deep railway cutting. Springs of water are to be found along its course. The crack extends north from Nushki along the foot of the Sarlat range, and then diagonally across the Khwajah Amran range, cutting the crest of the main range near its highest peak and crossing the Lora River. A well-marked indentation was traceable at the edge of the plain near Murghachaman, some 18 miles north of Chaman."

MacMahon states that the Beluch themselves attribute it to three different earthquakes, of which accounts have been handed down by their fathers, and at the time of which deep fissures appeared that have subsequently extended. Major MacMahon adds that this crack marks the line of a gigantic geological fault, with sedimentary rocks to the east of it and igneous rocks to the west, and he believes, rightly, I think, that the length of this fault line exceeds that of any other fault line yet discovered.

On the upper plateau on which we travelled tamarisks altogether disappeared for the last twenty miles or so, and _tagaz_ shrubs, varying from one to six feet high, were practically the only plant we saw. In the underlying plain tamarisk was most plentiful. Facing us on the mountain side a white cliff could be seen from a a long distance, with a most regular row of double black marks which looked exactly like windows.


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