Saturday, July 29, 2017

Mongolia 2017 - Day 13. The Middle of Nowhere to Arvayheer

Another long day of driving, with lots of dust and very little pavement. However, we have moved out of the western Gobi and traversed a glorious landscape of small, jagged hills and endless sky. The day was clear, and like the movie title once expressed it, in Mongolia in a clear day you can see forever. Then it struck us that the reason you can see impossibly wide grasslands is because there are no fences! Yes, throughout the country there are no barbed-wire fences that could impede the movement of the herds and their nomadic owners. This is what the US or Mexico might have looked like prior to the arrival of the Europeans; what a cool thought, isn’t it?

We have been amazed at the amount of granite we have seen during our trip. Sometimes it looks like “young” granite, just like in the Sierra Nevada, but other times, like between Bayanhongor and Arvayheer, it looks “old”, sheared, and beaten up. We suspect we are traversing a region of Precambrian basement, where the granites have been metamorphosed into coarse-grained granitic gneisses. Zoe is getting a good refresher in mineralogy and exotic lithologies (e.g., lamprophyres) from both her Dad and Godfather J

We arrived in Arvayheer around 8 pm, booked ourselves in a nice hotel, and had a delicious dinner. Mongolian cuisine relies heavily in mutton, but this time the best dishes were some vegetarian empanadas and a delicious salad with coleslaw, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and a very tasty dressing.

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