By Joan Larsen
A place so remote – in the very heart of Siberia – that only now have the first pictures – beyond beautiful – been shot. So far, there has been no funding allotment to allow explorers to find their way in and explore these remarkable buttes (that you see above) on foot.
I want to go.
I find these buttes are vividly reminiscent of the mois of Easter Island which were of hand-carved stone – but these buttes of Siberia are of natural origin. In our world today of high technology, somehow these gorgeous buttes in nowhere had not ever been spotted. . . making us realize that our world – so advanced in every way – has still to be fully discovered.
I love that thought – and perhaps being one of the first!!!
But to the recent story: a Russian biologist and photographer, Alexander Krivoshapkin, was recently taken by helicopter on a trip by air, hundreds of miles north-east of the Russian region of Yakutia, and into a remote mountain range — to count the numbers of reindeer herds.
As Alexander recounts it: “Right in the middle of the bare tundra were buttes 10 to 20 meters high, standing in groups or completely alone, looking like warriors on a march — warriors who were suddenly petrified with malicious intent of a local shaman centuries ago. Or like ruins of an ancient city, inhabited by a hitherto unknown people.”
In times like that, our imagination knows no bounds!
These striking granite buttes – now known as the Sundrun Pillars – had never before been photographed. . . and – as this was not a photographic expedition – and purely a search for the endemic reindeer of the region – all photos were taken through portholes of the helicopter.
Russian geologists – viewing the photos – believe the weird shapes had to have been sculpted by relentless freezing and thawing of the granite and eroded sandstone. Scientists around the world are always eager to “be the first” so there is now a small clamor to somehow get in to see these amazing buttes close-up.
Perhaps you may be like me – and may have guessed, but not have known that Russia is the largest country in the world by far! (Canada is second!) But unlike states in the United States, Russia is divided by regions. And on this map, YAKUTIA is by far its largest region. This one area is four times larger than France, and yet has the proud status of being “terra incognita” – a virgin land of many mysteries.
When we hear of mammoth bones discovered in vast quantities – this is the place of their discoveries. But why the importance of counting of reindeer herds? Yakutia is cold, isolated, with small populations that use reindeer or dog sleds to get around. Bragging among its residents is of a different sort: there is one lake for every single inhabitant of this region.
A larger look – this time of a vast region of our world that — for its beauty, the lives of its people – I find so different than any place I have seen. For that reason alone, the photos, I believe, are worth sharing with each of you.
To the right, the stunning photo is of water being thrown off a balcony — when the outside temperature is 45 degrees below zero! Water freezes instantly with contact with air, making our own winters seem mild. Mind-blowing!
Writer Joan Larsen has spent a lifetime searching for the most remote places on Earth. But it is the polar regions of our world that she has been drawn back to again and again. She has done research in these lands of ice, and considers Antarctica to be her “other home.”