To General the west of Kashgar the central depression is limited by physio- the meridional range of Sarikol and the great elevation graphs* of the Pamir, of which the Sarikol is the eastern face.
The level of this depression (once a vast inland sea) between the mountains which enclose the sources of the Hwang-ho and the Sarikol range probably never exceeds 2000 ft.
Greatest among modern Asiatic explorers (if we except Prjevalsky) is the brave Swede, Professor Sven Hedin, whose travels through the deserts of Takla Makan and Tibet, and whose investigations in the glacial regions of the Sarikol mountains, occupied him from 1894 to 1896.
Between the Russian Pamirs and Chinese Turkestan the rugged line of the Sarikol range intervenes, the actual dividing line being still indefinite.
Where the Oxus river takes its great bend to the north from Ishkashim, the breadth of the Afghan territory intervening between that river and the main water-divide of the Hindu Kush is not more than 10 or 12 m.; and east of the Pamir extension of Afghanistan, where the Beyik Pass crosses the Sarikol range and drops into the Taghdumbash Pamir, there is but the narrow width of the Karachukar valley between the Sarikol and the Murtagh.
Eastwards of this the great Kashgar depression, which includes the Tarim desert, separates Russia from the vast sterile highlands of Tibet; and a continuous series of desert spaces of low elevation, marking the limits of a primeval inland sea from the Sarikol meridional watershed to the Khingan mountains on the western borders of Manchuria, divide her from the northern provinces of China.
From the Hari Rud on the Afghan west to the Sarikol mountains on the east her northern limits were set by the Boundary Commissions of 1884 political 1886 and of 1895 respectively.
From the Dorah eastwards the crest of the Hindu Kush again becomes the boundary till it effects a junction with the Murtagh and Sarikol ranges, which shut off China from Russia and India.
It may be said to spring from the head of the Taghdumbash Pamir, where it unites with the great meridional system of Sarikol stretching northwards, and the yet more impressive mountain barrier of Murtagh, the northern base of which separates China from the semi-independent territory of Kanjut.
From the abutment of the Hindu Kush on the Sarikol in the Pamir regions to Landi Kotal, and throughout its eastern and southern limits, the boundary of Afghanistan touches districts which were brought under British political control with the formation of the North-West Frontier Provinces of India in 1901.
In altitude: Dong-osenghi, 14,265 ft.; Kurmychi, 13,310 ft.; Ullukara-tau, 24,070 ft.; Jailyk, 17,780 ft.; Sarikol-bashi, 13,965 ft.; Dumala-tau, 24,950 ft.; Sugan-tau, 14,730 ft.; Tiutiu-bashi, 14,500 ft.; Nuamkuam, 1 3,975 ft.; Zurungal, 13,915 ft.; Mala-tau, 24,950 ft.; Tiutiun-tau, 15,115 ft.; Khrumkol-tau, 14,653 ft.; Bubis-khokh, 24,500 ft.; Giulchi, 14,680 ft.; Doppakh, 14,240 ft.; Nakhashbita-khokh, '4,405 ft.; Shankhokh, 14,335 ft.; Mishirghi-tau (W.
The axis, or backbone, of Pamir formation is the great meridional mountain chain of Sarikol - the ancient Taurus of tradition and history - on which stands the highest peak north of the Himalaya, the Murtagh Ata (25,000 ft.).
Rang Kul Lake occupies a central basin or depression; but the Kara Kul drains away north-eastwards through the Sarikol (as the latter, bending westwards, merges into the Trans-Alai) to Kashgar and the Turkestan plains.
To the east of the Sarikol chain is the Taghdumbash Pamir, which claims many of the characteristics of the western Pamirs at its upper or western extremity, where the Karachukar, which drains it, is a comparatively small stream.
Out northwards for a comparatively straight run to Tashkurghan, dividing asunder the two parallel ranges of Sarikol and Kandar, which together form the Sarikol chain, the appellation Pamir can hardly be maintained.
This is the richest portion of the Sarikol province.
One other so-called Pamir exists to the east of Sarikol, separated therefrom by the eastern range (the Kandar) of the Sarikol, which is known as Mariom or Mariong.
The Murtagh chain, which holds within its grasp the mightiest system of glaciers in the world, forms a junction with the Sarikol at the head of the Taghdumbash, where also another great system (that of the Hindu Kush) has its eastern roots.
One important pass (the Beyik, 15,100 ft.) leads from the Russian Pamirs into Sarikol across its northern border.
With the Sarikol province across its western head, whilst a third (the Kilik, 15,600 ft.) leads into the head of the Hunza river and opens a difficult and dangerous route to Gilgit.
Here it diverges southwards to the Sarikol chain, north of Taghdumbash.