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Digging for dreams

China Daily | Updated: 2021-11-20 08:07
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The 3D geological prospecting project is carried out in the Qiulitag tectonic belt in the Tarim Basin, Xinjiang. It has great exploration potential and is an important relay station for oil and gas exploration in the Kuqa area. [Photo by Jin Tian/For China Daily]

The Qiulitag Mountains, which straddle the counties of Kuqa, Xinhe and Baicheng in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, are characteristic of uninhabited mountainous area without roads and communications. To get a true picture of the nature here, one has to pick treacherous paths and unfrequented jungles for explorations, discovering many grotesque mountains and ravines with a vertical drop of more than 600 meters. It is hailed as "a place where neither the Mongolian gazelle nor the eagle can reach".

Despite the harsh natural conditions deep in the mountains, it is one of China's strategic resource relay stations where petroleum geophysical surveyors set up camps, using both the most primitive manual labor and the most advanced technical means to challenge world-class exploration problems and their own limits. Not far away from the Qiulitag Mountains, a huge gas field powers China's massive west-to-east gas transportation project, providing energy for more than 3,000 enterprises and 400 million residents in more than 120 cities.

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