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30 JOUENEYS IN PERSIA LETTER xvii
general useless for irrigation purposes, but some day it
may be turned to account as a great " water power." Its
windings, dictated "by the singular formation of the moun-
tain ranges (for I reject the idea of it having " carved "
its channel), are almost phenomenal. After flowing south-
east for a hundred miles from its source, it mates an
acute bend, flows for fifty miles to the sjouth-west, and
then making another fantastic turn it flows in an exactly
opposite direction to that of its earlier course, proceeding
north-west to Shuster for a hundred miles.
It is calculated that the distance from the BLuh-i-Kang
to Shuster as the crow flies is seventy-five miles, but the
distance travelled by the waters of the Karun is 250
miles, with an aggregate'fall of 9000 feet.
Besides being fed on its journey through the Bakh-
tiari country by many mountain-side fountain springs of
pure fresh water, as well as by salt streams and springs,
it receives various tributaries, among the most important
of which are the Ab-i-Bazuft and a stream which, though
known locally under various names, may be called from
the Chigakhor basin in which it rises the Ab-i-Chig-
akhor, which makes a course of ninety miles to get over
a distance of twenty; the Darkash Warkash flowing in
from the Chahar Mahals near Ardal, the Dinarud rising
in the fair valley of Gorab, and the Ab-i-Cherri or Duab.
This mountain range, the Zard Kuh, in whose steep
side at a height of over 8000 feet the Sar-i-Cheshmeh-
i-Kurang wells up so grandly, is rather a series of rock.
summits and precipices than a range of mountains. In
late June its naked shelves and battlements upbore great
snow-fields, and its huge rifts or passes—the Gil-i-Shah,
nearly 11,700 feet in altitude, and the Pambakal, 11,400
—were full of snow. But even, in four days it melted
rapidly, and probably by August little remains except a
few patches, in the highest and most sunless of the rifts.