China / Society

Research expedition completed

By Xie Chuanjiao ( Updated: 2012-12-28 22:52

The Dayang Yihao ("Ocean No 1") research vessel ended its 26th global exploration and returned to its home port in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao on Dec 28, completing a 245-day research journey that covered more than 38,036 nautical miles.

According to the ship's chief scientist Tao Chunhui, a wide range of surveys on the deep-sea environment, biodiversity, and polymetallic sulphides were conducted in the Indian and Atlantic oceans, and Nigerian waters during the mission.

“We conducted China’s first biotic environmental research of deep sea hydrothermal vents, and observed activities such as black smokers and other hydrothermal fluid life,” said Tao.

“A remotely operated vehicle developed by our own scientists played a critical role in this mission, providing technology support for surveys on geology, biocenose, and micro-organisms in deep sea waters.”

Hydrothermal vents are fissures at the bottom of the ocean from which geothermally heated water with abundant minerals, also known as hot liquid sulfides, gush like chimneys expelling clouds of black smoke.

Li Bo, deputy director at the general office of China Ocean Mineral Resources R&D Association, said: “The exploration conducted the 1st Sino-Nigeria joint cruise, and it was also the first international research conducted by China at the exclusive economic zone of an African nation.”

The team captured high precision geographic, geomorphic information and geophysical features off the Nigerian west coast, filling in gaps in this research area for Nigeria.

Excellent maintenance and operational support were significant factors in the success of the research mission since the vessel is nearly thirty years old.

The expedition had 186 crew from 35 domestic and foreign institutions, including the State Oceanic Administration and Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey.

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