Foreign Explorers of Mongolia:

-Marco Polo (1273-1275), 

, 1618.

-Ivan Porshennikov traveled to Mongolia in 1647.

-Fyodor Baikov visited Mongolia in 1654-1656.

-Nikolay Spafarii visited Mongolia 1675.

-Gerbillon (1688-1698),

-Ijsbrand Ides (1692-1694),

-Lange (1727-1728 and 1736),

-Safronii Gribovski traveled to Mongolia in 1794...

-Fuss and Bunge (1830-1831),

-Palladii Kafarov visited Mongolia in 1847-1859. Kafarov found "Secret History of Mongols" in Beijing.

-Fritsche (1868-1873),

-Pavlinov and Matusovski (1870),

-Ney Elias (1872-1873),

-N. M. Przhevalsky (1870-1872 and 1876-1877),

-Zosnovsky (1875), M. V. Pjevtsov (1878),

 -G. N. Potanin (1877 and 1884-1886),

-Count Szchenyi and L. von Loczy (1879-1880),

the brothers Grum-Grzhimailo (x889I~9o),

 -P. K. Kozlov (1893-1894 and 1899-1900), V. I. Roborovsky (1894),

-V. A. Obruchev (1894 1896),

-Futterer and Holderer (1896),

-C. E. Bonin (1896 and 1899),

-Sven Hedin (1897 and 1900-1901),

-K. Bogdanovich (1898),

-Ladyghin (1899-1900)

-Katsnakov (1899-1900).


An unique image of 1957 Gobi-Altai earthquake:

the Great earthquakes in Mongolia.

Figure 1. Outline of Mongolia superimposed on a shaded relief map of the western United States. The yellow lines on the figure show the portions of the faults that ruptured the ground surface during the three M8+ events that occurred during the 20th century. Six M7+ earthquakes also occurred during the 20th century in Mongolia and produced surface faulting as well, but are only represented as dots on this map.

Mongolia, a country of 2.5 million people living within an area four times the size of California, is a spectacular natural laboratory for studying faults and great earthquakes that occur in the interior of continents far from plate boundaries. During the 20th century, western Mongolia experienced three earthquakes of approximately M8, and another six events of about M7. Figure 1 gives the locations of these events.

Mongolia's Ninja Miners Wreak Environmental Havoc.

Story by Lindsay Beck

"It was a beautiful place before," said the 56-year-old mother of three. "There were two rivers flowing. Look at what they've done. It's all been dug up." Like many in rural Mongolia, Chogtsol is a herder, but in the distance the ninjas are visible -- the thousands who scavenge old mines panning for gold, named for the green pans they wear on their backs that make them resemble the cartoon "Ninja Turtles".For the ninjas, the income earned from the specks of gold clawed from the river bed is a key social safety net in the vast Central Asian country where more than one in three live below the poverty line. But the environmental impact on 's fragile grasslands is putting them in direct conflict with herders, who rely on the pastureland to graze their animals and for whom the country's rivers are an essential source of sustenance. "If we have a river, we have life. Without the river, there is no life there," said Tsetsgee Munkhbayar. A native of Uyanga Som in the central province of Uvurkhangai, Munkhbayar now lives about 400 km (240 miles) away in the capital, Ulan Bator, where he heads an organisation dedicated to saving the Uyanga River. "The nomads are losing their pasture. They're squeezed by mining more and more," he said from his cramped city office, a world away from the windswept grasslands where he was raised.

Gold Rush   Most of the sites where the ninjas work were once legal mines, but inefficient practices mean that often only 60-70 percent of an area's mineral wealth is extracted before the companies move on.That's when the ninjas move in. Estimates of how many Mongolians are involved in the small-scale mining of placer sites -- open-pit mines where minerals can be extracted without tunnelling or blasting -- range from 30,000 to up to 100,000. "To be frank, nobody is reclaiming the land used by ninjas," said Environment Minister I. Erdenebaatar. "At the moment, we don't have regulations or a legal environment to cover the ninjas.”Legal or not, for people like 32-year-old Tsermaa, work as a ninja is a lifeline.Tsermaa, who uses only one name, is spattered with mud as she takes a break from heaving spadefuls of soil into pans and sifting through the frigid sludge in search of glittering specks. She made about 60,000 togrogs (US$52) a month as a midwife before coming to the mining site. Here, she makes nearly five times that, selling her finds to middlemen on site. The global price of gold has risen 25 percent this year to US$650 an ounce. Even as she profits from her work, Tsermaa is aware of the environmental consequences. "It's been very bad for the land. The water here is all polluted," she said. She scans an area resembling a moonscape with hundreds of holes bored deep into the ground and figures hunched over the dried-up river bed sifting through pile after pile of earth and gravel. Nearby, a makeshift ger village has sprung up, the traditional tents transformed from family dwellings into pool halls and small shops.

 Poisoned rivers.  "One word: disaster," is how Munkhbayar responds when asked about the country backing its future on mining. Mining accounts for the bulk of foreign investment and nearly 60 percent of export earnings in , but activists say relying on the industry for economic growth will have environmental consequences the country is ill-prepared to handle. "... Little has been done to systematically assess and address the costs of possible environmental damage from the sector's ongoing and planned activities," the World Bank said in a recent discussion paper. But many in the industry say irresponsible placer operations that walk away without any reclamation work and leave the site ready for scavengers are giving them all a bad name. At the Boroo gold mine, a hard-rock operation owned by Canada's Centerra Gold, slurry is detoxified before it is discharged into the tailings pond, which itself is sealed to prevent leakage into the groundwater. Water from the pond is recycled back into the plant. The mine, its operators say, shows that it is possible to develop the industry responsibly. But for those scavenging the river bed in Uyanga Som, state-of-the-art plants are unheard of. There, the source of the river has been damaged and the impact of the mining may be permanent. "Although placer mining is not large-scale, it has the worst impact on the environment," said Erdenebaatar, the environment minister. "Because it pollutes the river and chemicals might be absorbed into the soil, it has a huge impact on biodiversity.” But even as herders like Chogtsol see the land being destroyed, residents find it difficult to rally against something they also know provides extra income many are desperate for -- particularly those who lost their herds in unusually severe winters around 2000. "It's not wrong that it's being dug up," said Chogtsol, stirring a vat of mare's milk that is fermenting into vodka. "Mongolians should have the wealth." The end 

Swen Hedin

The size and complexity of the famous Swedish explorer Sven Hedin's bibliography rival the scope of his explorations. His books were excerpted, translated and republished in dozens of locations and languages. For the uninitiated, figuring out which version of a Hedin title may contain something of interest and be different from which other title is very difficult. My purpose is to assist in such efforts, not to provide a scholarly research tool for the specialist. A complete bibliography by Willy Hess is listed in section IV below.
        The material here includes primarily his books and in the first instance their English editions. No effort has been made to exhaust the list of non-English editions. However, I devote considerable space to the Swedish and German ones, the former generally being the originals (most published by the firm of Albert Bonnier in Stockholm). His works in German were published almost exclusively by F. A. Brockhaus in Leipzig; the demand for his work in German seems to have been insatiable. Brockhaus often issued full, shorter, and yet shorter versions of the same work, all under the same title, many in popular series for young readers. There were frequent reprints, which I have not attempted to track systematically. Generally I try to identify the first edition; for others, I will cite first of all that which I have been able to examine. I make no attempt to cite, among others, the numerous translations of his work into Japanese or Chinese; it strikes me as even less likely that any readers of this page would prefer their Hedin in Yiddish (yes, such translations do exist!). Reprints of Hedin's works continue to appear--several relatively inexpensive ones having been published in recent years in South Asia. 
        For those interested in the numerous photographs and maps Hedin published, unfortunately many of the translations (including some of the standard English ones) and most of these recent reprints are quite inadequate. The best reproductions tend to be in the original Swedish editions and in some of the early "full" translations.
        Those wishing an overview of Hedin's expeditions (at least through 1908) should begin with the summary account in his memoir, My Life as an Explorer. Large sections of the multi-volume accounts of individual expeditions make for dry reading. Hedin was trained in physical geography; I am not sure he figured out or cared how much of his soundings of lakes and measurements of river flow would really interest the average reader. Part of the problem also lies in the nature of much of the exploration--if one floats down the Tarim or slogs across the Tsaidam Plateau in the autumn rains as he did, there is a certain inevitable monotony. It is not always clear how one can best write about that if at the same time one wishes to chronicle the journey.
        An additional problem for the modern reader is that our cultural sensitivity is different from Hedin's. In some ways he is oblivious to many of the aspects of history and culture that so fascinated someone like Aurel Stein. At times Hedin's European arrogance is more than annoying; in our politically correct age, he would be censured. Finally, today's reader may respond unsympathetically to the litany of the cost of his expeditions to his pack horses, mules, and camels, not to mention the wildlife: yaks, camels, asses and antelope. Rare was an expedition in which more than a handful of his pack train came back alive. And he managed to lose more than a few of his human staff as well.
        Where possible, I have examined the books de visu. I have yet to read more than a fraction of them (we are told his published works amount to more than 30,000 pages!). My annotation in many cases is based on information in library catalogues; I have also drawn upon the at times extended descriptions of the publications in the biography by George Kish listed below. Over time, I hope to add some notes and perhaps expand this bibliography into categories not yet covered. These limitations notwithstanding, I hope the material will provide a reasonably thorough guide for the interested reader who wishes to traverse Asia (and some aspects of twentieth-century politics) with Hedin. Suggestions for corrections and additions would be welcome.