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Chinese geoscientists set new record on shelf coring

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-08-27 08:35
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Chinese research vessel Haiyang Dizhi-9 returns to Qingdao, Shandong province on Dec 7, 2018. [Photo provided to]

GUANGZHOU - Chinese scientists said they have, for the first time, reached 302.07 meters below the seafloor during a scientific drilling and coring mission on the northern shelf of the South China Sea.

Researchers announced the breakthrough after completing the latest expedition aboard Haiyang Dizhi-10, or literally Ocean Geology 10, a domestically built marine geological survey vessel, on Friday.

The depth set a new record for Quaternary System core drillings at Chinese shelf areas, said Zhang Jinpeng, a senior engineer at Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey (GMGS).

Offshore drilling is the most direct method to probe into the Earth's interior and allows geoscientists to collect sediment and rock samples from deep within the Earth.

The latest drilling took place 175 km away from the Pearl River Estuary, South China's Guangdong province, at a water depth of 92 meters, according to Zhang.

The geological samples obtained from this mission will help scientists better understand the area's carbon burial history and geological evolutionary history of the paleo-Pearl River Delta, as well as the relationship between local sea levels and global climate changes, Zhang said.

Wang Shidong, an engineer of GMGS, said the drilling work deployed China-developed equipment such as hydraulic piston corer and innovative marine deep-hole drilling technologies to ensure the high quality of the samples.

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