There the Volga, the Ural, the Syr-darya and the Amu-darya discharge their waters without reaching the ocean, but they bring life to the rapidly desiccating Transcaspian steppes, and link together the most remote parts of Russia.
- North-western Mongolia is well watered, and has in its western part a group of lakes which possess no outlet to the ocean, being in reality the rapidly desiccating remains of what were formerly much larger basins.
Anhydrous calcium chloride, prepared by heating the hydrate to 200° (preferably in a current of hydrochloric acid gas, which prevents the formation of any oxychloride), is very hygroscopic, and is used as a desiccating agent.
Whereas both the mountains and valleys of the Astintagh and of the Akato-tagh (the next large range to the Astin-tagh on the south) are arid and desolate in the extreme, smitten as it were with the desiccating breath of the desert, those of the Arka-tagh and beyond are supersaturated with moisture, so that, at any rate in summer, the surface is in many parts little better than a quaking quagmire.
The time taken in seasoning wood by this desiccating process is not more than one-tenth of that occupied in the natural or open-air method.